Democrats & Liberals Archives

November 25, 2003

Medicare Bill and Russ Feingold

Following is an email from From Russ Feingold.

Dear David,

As you may know, the Senate today passed a sweeping and potentially dangerous change in Medicare. While the drug companies get richer and richer, this bill does nothing to guarantee reasonable drug prices for all seniors.

As I wrote in the op-ed linked below, “When the Medicare reform bill passed the Senate in July, I supported it because it was a down payment, however modest, on adding a prescription-drug benefit to Medicare.

“But now the bill has emerged from a partisan House-Senate conference committee significantly altered the prescription drug benefit has been cut back, and it now includes entirely new provisions that could fundamentally change Medicare itself for the worse.

“Although I was proud to play a significant role in the Medicare fairness provisions that made it into the final bill, I cannot support this legislation.

This bill is no longer a step forward toward a comprehensive prescription-drug benefit. It’s a step backward for the Medicare program.”

I believe very strongly that we must ensure quality health care with a prescription drug benefit under Medicare for all seniors. Since serving as Chairman of Wisconsin State Senate’s Committee on Aging, I have made long-term care, home care, and Medicare issues a priority and will continue to fight for fairness in Medicare and to protect the solvency of this important program for future generations.

Please read more about why I opposed this bill:

Best wishes,

Russ Feingold
United States Senator

Posted by David R. Remer at November 25, 2003 01:53 PM
Comment #4095

Only time and the 2004 Presidential elections will tell if this bill is indeed as bad for America as we (rational, forward-thinking, reflective people) know it to be. And this all could have been so simple. Leave it to the Republicans and their single minded love for all things “market” to muck up the mix, enriching themselves in the process, and leave America’s seniors and disabled poorer for the experience.

There was a time when the Congress of the United States of America worked for the American people and the good of the nation. That era has regrettably passed. We now live in a country where nothing of substance is accomplished by those elected and paid to accomplish it at all levels of government. The special interest groups with their moneyed elite have won, and We “The People” continue to watch—seemingly helpless—as the country slides into third world mind-think, and soon economic status. All hail the virtues of Capitalism!

Posted by: V. Edward Martin at November 29, 2003 09:27 PM
Comment #4096

Mr. Martin, I agree with your sentiment. Capitalism has indeed made this country great, but, not to the exclusion of the union movement and social programs and liberal (for its time) legislation that created a ballooning middle class of consumers who in turn continued to crank up the capitalist growth.

Any attempts to shrink the disposable income of the middle class, of whom millions of retirees are a part with even more to come, will in turn, shrink consumerism and thus capitalist growth. It amazes me how seemingly incomprehensible this simple relationship of economics is for many leaders in this country.

Rest assured, however, my daughter’s generation will hold ours accountable for the debt and its incumbent high interest rates and increasing taxes with little government service, save for military, to show for it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 29, 2003 10:35 PM
Comment #4116

Oh what sorrow we have come to, when the healthy and the strong ride on the backs of the elderly, weak and poor. Truly it was not always this way. There was a time when the old were respected and the young were protected, and people in their prime took pride in what they could accomplish - but now the word accomplishment has a different meaning, now that we are measured not by the beauty of our spirits but by the depth of our bank accounts. I long for heaven.

Posted by: Drassa at December 1, 2003 07:32 PM
Comment #4138

Most eloquently spoken Drassa. It does indeed reflect the change in sentiment of millions and millions of Americans. Having grown up in the 1950’s however, I remember priorities in the inner city of Detroit being not too different from today. Hope, trust, and belief were more abundant as I remember.

But, power and money were wed even then, and their offspring were not so visible then. The Lynchings in Saginaw, Mi., and Selma, Alabama of men of color for little more reason than their color. The Chicago political machine that rendered free choice elections a joke and mockery.

I remember the hushed whispers of my parents and customers in my grandfather’s store about condemned house abortions and deaths of women of ill repute whose abortion was God’s justice. I remember street gangs, and gang fights and gang murders. I grew up knowing of the Purple Gang, a bloody murderous lot much like Capone’s operation.

I think the sentiment has changed, innocence lost, but, little has changed, save that we are worse off today for having lost faith, lost trust, lost belief, and for a mountain of justified reasons. Where are the leaders who can restore that faith, that trust, that belief in our nobly intended experiment in governance formerly called the American way?

Assasinated, in safer careers, more honest careers, seeking simpler more centered and peaceful lives as artists, poets, philosophers, writers, business owners, or in military careers seeking power with honor, power with loyalty, and power with comradery.

Democracy is the worst form of government except for all others. But, it seems, we don’t even have that solace anymore as we move ever closer to oligarchy, aristocracy of the wealthy, and the best government that money can buy, which is a government torn in 100’s of directions without a coherent long term goal, strategy, or commitment. A government without a concensus of the majority, a government sanctioned by 1/3 of the citizens, but run by and for the protection of power and wealth, not by and for the people, not really.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 2, 2003 12:45 AM
Comment #4224

This string is very interesting, but lets talk about what we can do to reverse this depressing trend.

Posted by: mdon at December 8, 2003 08:07 PM
Comment #4357

Mdon, I am convinced reversal can only come about through education. But, it is obvious we are dumbing down education. What I mean by that, is that America still has some of the best universities in the world. But, they are increasingly populated by citizens from other countries.

To get to university one must get through high school and that elementary and high school education must be universal, not specialized. The American school system is specializing in producing people who are very, very good in one area of productive pursuit, like engineering or medical research. But that education no longer contains world history, Shakespeare, philosophy, literature, fine art, social sciences or even political science beyond a single course for a student pursuing an engineering career.

An engineer, should also be an intelligent reader of current events, which requires some education in economics, history, and political science. That engineer will probably be a parent one day, a voter, and a manager. And where in the engineer’s education is there any preparation for these vitally important other roles he will have to fill and which are, in the long run, every bit as important to society as his/her role as engineer?

Not to be found. When I went to school in Detroit in the 1950’s and 60’s, broad humanities education was unavoidable, you became a generalist first and a specialist second. Today, the entire educational and workplace is being turned upside down in this regard, where the specialist is premium and the generalist in unemployed or horribly underpaid. Yet, so many jobs in our society, important jobs, require a generalist education for success. I guess that is why the Peter Principle now extends all the way to the Whitehouse.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 12, 2003 04:22 PM