All Politics, All The Time

From Holden:

The Bush administration is unconcerned with good governance, precedent, or the law. All they care about is re-selecting the Chimp:

The Bush administration brought the usual schedule for announcing a controversial increase in Medicare premiums forward by six weeks so that instead of emerging two weeks before the election it was made public on the Friday before Labor Day, a document obtained by The Hill shows.

Senior Democrats are crying foul, claiming that the announcement was accelerated because President Bush’s reelection campaign feared political fallout close to Nov. 2.

The internal administration memo reveals that the unprecedented 17 percent increase in Medicare premiums that seniors will pay in 2005 was scheduled for release Oct. 22. The “Forecast” document, put together by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is designed to provide senior HHS staff a glimpse of big upcoming policy announcements and speaking engagements.


The government usually releases Medicare premium information in October, having done so for at least the past 10 years.

A House Democratic aide said the administration conveniently released the premium information the day before a three-day weekend and after the Republican convention while former President Bill Clinton was hospitalized and the second of three hurricanes was hitting Florida.


Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) told The Hill that there is no question that politics played into the administration’s move, calling it “very dishonest.”


The earliest that HHS has announced the new Part B premium rates in the past decade is Oct. 13. The Bush administration never announced the increases before Oct. 16.

A senior Democratic aide said: “This is just one more example of this administration making decisions based on what is politically expedient as opposed to what is right, what is appropriate, what makes sense. What is so unfortunate is that every move this administration has made when it comes to Medicare has been about scoring political points, not helping seniors.”