America’s bad luck streak in dancing school was supposed to come to an end on January 20th, 2009. But, well, we all know how the promise of change we need turned out. Best not to think about it. Instead, we should focus that attention on keeping alive, always, the true legacy of the Bush era. We don’t want uneducated morons like Dana Perino or, well, George W. Bush changing the landscape of the future with their already revisionist attempts at relating the history of that bad luck streak. Since the Republicans now officially in control of the House are hellbent on repealing a health care program they should consider a gift rather than a tragedy, let’s look at the Bush legacy as it relates to health care.
George W. Bush took it upon himself to push forward a health program that was constructed on just one concrete foundation: the government would be absolutely, positively prohibited from any negotiations with pharmaceutical companies on the issue of prices. Never mind that every other industry as large as the pharmaceutical industry has the right to negotiate prices downward and certainly never mind that a poll showed a staggering 80% of Americans were opposed to this concept. (I would imagine that the 20% supporting the proposal was made up entirely of Republican politicians and executives at pharmaceutical companies who got a bonus based on company profits.) Perhaps, just perhaps, Pres. Bush’s decision to stop even the potential for the lowering of overpriced medications was due to the fact that the pharmaceutical industry contributed to Republican candidates 70% of the time.
From 2001 through 2004, the premiums that were paid by Medicare recipients were increased by almost 60%. In fact, it was during the Bush administration that Medicare experienced its largest premium increase in its long, hated-by-conservatives history. By the middle of Bush’s second term, a third of Social Security income to seniors immediately went straight to Medicare. What is really bewildering is that so many poor seniors STILL voted for Bush in 2004!
Insurance? Who Needs It?
When George W. Bush stole office in 2001, there were roughly 40 million Americans without health insurance. That number is embarrassing enough for all of us, but during just the first term of the Thief of State, another five million Americans were added to the mix. You might be interested to learn that this math is in direct conflict with the final two years of bad ol’ Bill Clinton’s term in office in which the number of Americans without insurance actually went down.
Big Tobacco’s BFF
Among the legacies of George W. Bush on the issue of America’s favorite legalized highly addictive drug: he changed his mind on forcing a crackdown of advertising for cigarettes and chewing tobacco that was specifically aimed at kids; his minions who attended a World Health Organization conference on tobacco forwarded the official Bush administration position that there be no requirement that warnings about tobacco be printed on packages in the native language of the country in which they were being sold.
Perhaps the single worst element of the Bush legacy regarding health care is how academics and scientists in charge of writing regulations extended to the health care industry via the Dept. of Health and Human Services, the Center for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration were replaced by Bush appointees who came directly from the big businesses making the loudest outcry about the burden that health regulations placed upon their profits…I mean business and ability to pay a living wage to their employees. Throughout the entirety of the Bush administration, those who were making the most improvements by rolling back governmental regulations…were the ones writing government regulations.