A Banner Day for Republican Fraud
Q: What do the new Bush Medicare budget forecast and ex-Talon News reporter Jeff Gannon have in common?
A: They are both frauds exposed on the same day.
Today, the Bush administration revealed that its 10 year forecast for Medicare, including the supposed prescription drug benefit, will be $1.2 trillion. That's $1.2 trillion between 2006 and 2015, not the $400 billion sold to Congress in December of 2003 or the $534 billion figure updated only two months later and repeated by Medicare chief Mark McClellan as recently as September.
While McClellan claims that other budget changes mean the true figure for Medicare is only $720 billion, there is good reason to be skeptical. As we reported last summer, this is the same Bush team that in late 2003 threatened to fire Richard Foster, the chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, if he provided his much higher budget estimates to Congress. (The administration later claimed executive privilege in barring McClellan's predecesor Thomas Scully from testifying before Congress.
The Republican's Medicare fraud does not end there, of course. The Medicare reform itself prohibits the federal government from negotiating prices directly with pharmaceutical companies, ensuring that our control prescription drug fees will continue to sky-rocket. The bill itself only made it through the House due to clear rules violations by Texas Rep. Tom Delay. And then HHS head Tommy Thompson used taxpayer dollars to promote the administration's Medicare plan using staged video news releases.
Talon News Outed
Equally sinister but more bizarre is the exposure of Talon News Service and its "reporter" Jeff Gannon (nee J.D. Guckert) as a conservative front. Thanks to the work of DailyKos, Atrios, Media Matters and many more, White House press secretary Scott McClellan's pet reporter and Bush softball-thrower Jeff Gannon was exposed as a fraud doing the dirty work for GOPUSA. He was also exposed as something else as well, call it George Bush's "Man Date."
Some days you just have to get on your knees and thank your Maker for His delicious sense of irony. Yes, if the Republican stranglehold wasn't actually so tragic for the nation, it would be quite comical.