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New Medicare Law Is Bad Medicine for Bush Popularity

  • February 25th, 2004

The new Medicare prescription-drug law is actually hurting President Bush's popularity, according to a new Gallup poll.

The survey, taken January 19 to February 1, found that public disapproval of Bush's handling of health care issues, including Medicare, has increased 13 percentage points since last year. According to the latest numbers, 57 percent of the public disapproves, 35 percent approves and 8 percent have no opinion of Bush's health care strategy. One year ago, 46 percent approved, 44 percent disapproved and 10 percent had no opinion of how Bush handled health care issues.

By promoting the new Medicare law, "the Bush strategists were trying to get the elderly vote," health policy analyst Edmund Haislmaier told the Washington Times. "So far," Haislmaier said, "the health care gamble hasn't paid off for the president."

Democrats say the Medicare plan is a huge giveaway to the prescription drug and managed care indsutries and doesn't do enough to defray prescription expenses for retirees. Democrats particularly condemn a provision in the law that bars the government from negotiating lower prices from drug companies. Meanwhile, conservative Republicans have criticized the drug benefit as an unprincipled bid to buy votes in November.

Critics have also accused the Bush administration of lying about the bill's cost to taxpayers. When Bush released his fiscal 2005 budget after the law was passed, it was revealed that the cost is now estimated at $534 billion, one-third higher than the $400 billion price tag that was on the bill when the administration sold it to Congress.

To read the Washington Times article on the poll, go to: http://www.washtimes.com/national/20040217-095717-8816r.htm

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Last Modified: 02/25/2004

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