CHARLIE JARVIS, CHAIRMAN & CEO, USA NEXT: Well, Chris, the AARP is the planet‘s largest left liberal lobbying organization.While I don't doubt the $14 million they spent on behalf of the pharmaceutical companies had an effect on the issue, the prescription drug bill was passed mostly thanks to Republican strong-arm tactics. It even included alleged bribery. Despite Jarvis' assertion that they dragged AARP on board, the bill most likely would have tanked if it weren't for their endorsement. Most congressmen rightly balked at the $400 billion price tag, a price tag that would turn out to be deceptively low.
MATTHEWS: Did you say that when they were backing the president on prescription drugs?
JARVIS: We dragged them kicking and screaming into that decision. [Emphasis added]
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson announced on Tuesday that his agency would investigate charges that Bush administration officials threatened to fire David Foster, the chief actuary of Medicare, if he disseminated higher cost estimates to Congress during the debate last fall.Even the Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert felt bamboozled by the White House. If this is how they treat their own party, the Democrats had better get over any thoughts of leniency.
Last week, the General Accounting Office chided the administration for conducting a legal but misleading advertising campaign to explain changes in the law.
In February, the Office of Management and Budget forecast that the bill would cost $534 billion over the next decade, 35 percent more than the $395 billion calculated by the Congressional Budget Office.
Have no doubt, the White House machine moves at a vicious clip.