Thursday, April 5, 2007

Shoving it down our throats, toilet.

Judith Davidoff over at the Capital Times points out the friction between Medicare part D and Wisconsin's very own SeniorCare.

"They have been out to get rid of all the state plans and we were the last one standing," Doyle said in the article. "This is all about the Bush administration trying to make people believe Medicare Part D is a great program."

Doyle asks for an extension of the popular SeniorCare Program, as the giant Monolith Medicare encroaches on the state.

I can't blame him. Bipartisan health care plans put forth by Wisconsin's own Sen. Feingold and Rep. Baldwin have asked for more state leverage. The idea is that health care is best left to local management rather than a federal mandate.

Studies have shown the state program to be more cost effective. As reported by the Wisconsin State Journal, a 2005 study by the Wisconsin chapter of AARP found that a person with an annual income of about $15,000 and $1,000 in annual prescription drug costs would save $632 each year under SeniorCare compared to Medicare Part D.

SeniorCare also allows seniors to negotiate lower prices by forming a purchasing pool, while Medicare Part D prohibits bargaining pools.

So why do the feds insist on having it their way?

Greater policy autonomy to the states used to be a Republican philosophy, particularly attractive to fiscal conservatives. But it is no more.

The Bush Administration has warped conservatism to his own mold. The Medicare debate follows a series of attempts by feds to spend billions on policy that gives rights to Washington bureaucrats. And Wisconsin rebellion has been mixed.

Last month the New York Times reported on Madison's refusal of federally mandated phonics reading program in favor of local curricula that focus on context, meaning, as well as pronunciation. It cost the Madison Metropolitan school district $2 million in federal aid, but reading scores are better than the national average.

Also, the Administration attempts to ban gay marriage and civil unions failed. Unfortunately, Wisconsin's progressive tradition took a nap as a constitutional ban was voted in last November.

At the federal level, Bush repeatedly blasted big government in 2004 as a way to get reelected. But time and time again he's expanded the government to new levels, even beating FDR. It's no wonder that conservative support is waning, a lame duck as he wanders through the beginning of his seventh year in office.

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