Wisconsin Seniors Mad About Bush Medicare Law

Madison, Wis. – Several local seniors mad 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 Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin seniors to Wisconsin voters, have run every day in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin State Journal, The Journal Times, La Crosse Tribune, Leader-Telegram, Stevens Point Journal, Daily Citizen, The Daily Telegram, The Daily Press, The Chippewa Herald, Shawano Leader, Portage Daily Register and the News Republic.

Republican visions of political gains from President Bush’s Medicare prescription drug law have vanished, replaced by biting criticism from real seniors. Wisconsin seniors are mad that the law is too complex, offers too few benefits and hands hundreds of billions in new profits to HMOs and drug companies. The law also prohibits Medicare from trying to negotiate lower prices with drug makers.
Florence Lea, 76, has lived in Madison all her life and 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.

“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,” Lea said. “They turned it into a windfall for drug companies and HMOs, and seniors are going to pay more than we do today.”

Lee Brown, 78, has lived in Wisconsin for eight years and was also featured in an ad. Brown 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,” Brown 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.”

Katie Wenban, 86, said she knows when she is swindled and she is not fooled by President Bush’s new Medicare law. Wenban has lived in Madison for 58 years

“I know a rip-off when I see one,” Wenban 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 Madison area seniors that appeared in the ad series include Dave Slautterback, Welcome Fawcett and Tom Brown.

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**NOTE: Media representatives interested in the Wisconsin 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 for more information.**