Tuesday, January 31


Rethugs say they want "reform." But when it comes to the federal budget, for Bush and the Republicans it's business as usual. In other words, soak the taxpayers and give away billions to corporate interests and the wealthy. That's the true face of "compassionate conservatism."

It's worth citing in full the first paragraph of an important piece of investigative reporting last week by The Post's Jonathan Weisman: "House and Senate GOP negotiators, meeting behind closed doors last month to complete a major budget-cutting bill, agreed on a change to Senate-passed Medicare legislation that would save the health insurance industry $22 billion over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office."

What's wrong with this picture? First, a group of legislators who claim to want to reduce the deficit gutted a provision designed to save taxpayers money, after heavy lobbying by the health insurance industry.

Second, a Congress saying that it really, really wants to change the way it does business ratified a backroom deal in the wee hours of the morning that almost nobody who voted on it knew anything about.
As the Times's Robert Pear reported, the study found that "millions of low-income people would have to pay more for health care under a bill worked out by Congress, and some of them would forgo care or drop out of Medicaid because of the higher co-payments and premiums."

How strange it is that while the president claims he wants to help people get health coverage, he and his party would support a budget that could force some poor Americans to walk away from care.

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