Steffie Woolhandler

  1. Ensuring more uninsured. The number of uninsured Americans grew from 39.8 million in 2000 to 45 million in 2003, yet the Bush administration did nothing to curb the spike.
  2. Assailing the sickly. The Bush administration sat by as healthcare costs increased from $4,670 per capita in 2000 to $6,167 this year. As a result, millions of people with coverage face financial ruin because of rising premiums, co-payments and uncovered services.
  3. Subsidizing inefficiency. The White House committed about $40 billion in federal funds to subsidize Medicare HMOs over the next decade because these private plans have proved less efficient than the traditional Medicare program and are unable to compete without the subsidy.
  4. Fattening the pharmaceutical giants. The administration pressed members of Congress to pass a Medicare drug bill that will cost at least $570 billion over the next decade yet leave seniors with paltry drug coverage. Most of the money is to be shipped straight to drug companies and HMOs.
  5. Protecting corporate profits. The administration used patent law and trade regulations to keep affordable drugs off the market in the United States and in the Third World, soaking U.S. consumers and causing countless unnecessary deaths elsewhere from HIV. Among his other assaults on healthcare, Bush: forced the Food and Drug Administration to abandon objectivity and kowtow to drug and medical device makers; made scientific work at the National Institutes of Health subservient to fundamentalist religious tenets; threatened reproductive rights; protected U.S. tobacco and junk-food producers against international efforts to reign in health hazards; and put yet another generation of soldiers on the road to post traumatic stress disorder by ordering them to fight an unjust and unpopular war. In sum, Bush has taken every opportunity to pander to fundamentalism and corporate profiteering, no matter the cost in lives.

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