Herger’s hypocrisy on health care

He voted for the super-expensive Medicare Part D benefit but opposes health insurance for all

Here’s a question for you: Which is more expensive, the comprehensive health-insurance reform package now before Congress, or the Medicare prescription-drug benefit, called Part D, passed in 2003?

The answer may surprise you. Currently, Medicare trustees estimate that Part D, which covers only the costs of prescription drugs for Medicare recipients, and then only partially, will cost $1.2 trillion in its first decade of operation. The figure dwarfs the estimated $848 billion cost of the Senate health-insurance-reform bill.

And the cost of Part D is going up because the law explicitly forbids the government from using its volume purchasing power to negotiate lower prices with Big Pharma.

Not only that, Part D his been financed entirely by deficit spending, whereas the Senate health-care bill is designed not to contribute to the deficit.

And who sponsored and voted for Part D? Why, it was Republicans, including our own Wally Herger, who today is doing everything he can to obstruct passage of comprehensive health-care reform, calling it—falsely, as he well knows—a “government takeover of health care.”

Of course, Republicans like to be nice to Medicare recipients. They tend to vote Republican, while the uninsured do not. Could that explain Herger’s hypocrisy?