Iowa Seniors Mad About Bush Medicare Law

Several local seniors angry about President Bush’s new prescription drug law appeared in a series of print advertisements running in newspapers throughout Iowa this week. The ad campaign, sponsored by the Campaign for America’s Future and Iowa Citizen Action, draws attention to the serious flaws in the Medicare “reform” legislation passed by President Bush and most Republicans in Congress.

The ads, which convey the criticism by Iowa seniors to Iowa voters, have run every day in the The Des Moines Register, The Gazette, The Quad-City Times, Courier, Telegraph Herald, The Ottumwa Courier, The Iowa City Press-Citizen and The Muscatine Journal.

Republican visions of political gains from President Bush’s Medicare prescription drug law have vanished, replaced by biting criticism from real seniors who do not benefit from the plan. Iowa seniors are mad that the law is too complex and offers too few benefits, which do not kick in fully until 2006.

Support for President Bush’s Medicare law is seen to be linked to his support of drug companies, demonstrated in the law’s prohibition against the government negotiating lower prices with drug makers. The law gives drug companies $139 billion in new profits and seniors will pay more for prescriptions, according to Consumers Union.

Mar Smith, of Jefferson, appeared in one ad. She noted that she is looking for a national leader who can provide cheaper prescription drugs by allowing Medicare to negotiate better prices. Smith has lived in Iowa for more than 40 years.

“The Bush team mislead Congress about how much money the new Medicare law would cost, strong-armed Members of Congress to vote for it, and tried to cover up the billions going to HMOs,” Smith said. “They turned it into a windfall for drug companies and HMOs, and seniors are going to pay more than we do today.”

Janice Wright of Des Moines has lived in Iowa for more than 40 years and was also featured in an ad. Wright said that President Bush listens to pharmaceutical companies and HMOs instead of real people who need help.

“President Bush was warned about the flu vaccine supply problems two years ago and didn’t do anything. They trusted the company when it said everything was all right and then the Bush team lied about how long they knew about the supply problems,” Wright said. “The Bush Medicare law starts to turn Medicare over to HMOs. With President Bush, pretty soon we’ll be lining up to ask an insurance company bureaucrat if we can see our doctor.”

Lilith Thomas of Runnells, 74, has lived in Iowa all her life. Thomas says she knows when she is swindled and she is not fooled by President Bush’s new Medicare law.

“I know a rip-off when I see one,” Thomas said. “What’s the point of a discount on prices that are still going up? That’s called bait and switch. Big drug companies cash in and we pay the price. No thank you, Mr. President.”

Other local seniors that appeared in the ad series include Jack Smith of Jefferson, Edward Rethman of West Des Moines and Joe Zagnoli of Des Moines.

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**NOTE: Media representatives interested in the Iowa Take Back Medicare Ads can view high resolution copies of the complete ad series at http://www.ourfuture.org/issues_and_campaigns/medicare/truthsquad_members.cfm . Please contact Toby Chaudhuri at chaudhuri@ourfuture.org