How much is this Medicare prescription benefit program going to cost us? Nobody seems to have any idea; the numbers just keep going up and up and up.
When this bill was still being debated in Congress during Bush’s first term, the cost was estimated at less than $400 billion. Then, the top Medicare actuary came up with a cost estimate that was tens of billions higher than the amount “estimated” by the Bush administration. The Medicare administrator threatened to fire this actuary if he didn’t keep his mouth shut.
The estimated 10-year cost is now $724 billion, but that cost could actually be closer to $1.9 trillion if certain projected savings aren’t realized. Who can you believe?
Many people think the biggest beneficiary of this bill will be the pharmaceutical industry, rather than Medicare recipients.
By this time we all know who Bush’s new deputy chief of staff is: Karl Rove, the great maestro who controls and maneuvers public opinion the way Leonard Bernstein used to conduct an orchestra.
If he’s able to manipulate Congress as skillfully as he manipulated John Q. Public, it’s gonna be a slam dunk for everything Bush and his neo-cons ever dreamed of. Hopefully, the few brains and spines left in Congress won’t be conned or intimidated by the Great Joseph Goebbels, er, Rove.
In spite of his new title, Rove will still be Bush’s senior advisor and strategist. And that’s not all: he will be overseeing and coordinating the Domestic Policy Council, National Economic Council, National Security Council and Homeland Security Council.
The fun is just beginning.