Medicare reform bad government

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 2, 2004

NFIB Focus-Jack Faris

It’s not always easy to do the right thing, especially when power and prestige hang in the balance. So we owe a word of thanks to the conservative representatives and senators who put their power and prestige at risk and voted against the Medicare “reform” bill.

This bill represents a triple threat. It will expand the size, scope and reach of government. This one was a no-brainer: Conservatives should have voted against it en masse.

What they wanted was a bill, any bill, that they could claim as a victory on the campaign trail this year. But as we’ve seen, this bill isn’t a victory for America’s seniors – it’s just another win for big government.

Congress could still go back and craft a plan that works like the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which covers members of Congress, federal workers and retirees, and their 9 million family members.

We need to reform Medicare. But that reform must come along free market lines. It shoud promote competition and fairness, not expand government control and saddle us with a one-size-fits-all prescription drug benefit.

Conservatives once cheered the idea of controlling both Houses of Congress and the White House. But unless we base our reform on conservative principles, we’re going to fail.

JACK FARIS is president of The Heritage Foundation.