Friday, October 31, 2008

Will anyone give Bush credit for this good news? There would be more if not for Dr. Bill Frist

USA Today reports that the cost of the Medicare prescription drug program pushed and signed into law by President George W. Bush saved $6 billion in the past federal fiscal year.

Now such a drop is really unusual for any government program. But the savings were mostly due to generic drugs offered by an increasing number of retailers. So this biggest expansion in federal entitlement spending was a good investment for taxpayers.

Sen. Barack Obama, however, has trashed the President for everything under the sun including the Spears' sisters unexpected pregnancies. And he has criticized Sen. McCain for voting with Bush 90 percent of the time.

Well, the Medicare prescription drug program for seniors was desperately needed, and McCain voted for it. And it is a life saver. I know. I covered the story of a Memphis woman who died in the summer of 2005 because she could not afford her heart medicine, and the Democratic governor in Tennessee cut her off Medicaid coverage six months before the prescription drug program began.

She collapsed the day after feeding Hurricane Katrina victims at her church. But Gov. Phil Bredesen guaranteed complete Medicaid coverage to these good folks.

There would have been even more savings if then Senate Majority Leader Dr. Bill Frist had allowed seniors to buy even cheaper drugs from Canadian companies. But Frist carried water for the U.S. drugmakers and blocked those savings so the companies could make big profits.

Dr. Frist, a bigtime Republican who plans to run for governor here in 2010 so he can run for president in 2012, has yet to answer for this moral outrage.

So Obama -- if he really is about bringing the American people together -- should cut the President a little slack for the success of this program, the No Child Left Behind Act and unprecedented U.S. help to African human beings dying from AIDS and other maladies. And McCain voted for those plans, too, under the 90-percent figure Obama likes to pull out like an stale, bad joke.

The Medicaid prescription drug program works. And so will other programs to fill this nation's health care gaps if given a political chance and freed from profiteering special interests such as the drugmakers and insurance companies.

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