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Monday, March 22, 2004

Bush's Medicare dream turning into a nightmare
From the Detroit Free Press.

Enactment of a sweeping Medicare overhaul law last year was supposed to be the crowning achievement of President George W. Bush's "compassionate conservatism" as he readied himself for re-election.

But less than four months after he signed it into law on Dec. 8, Bush's Medicare reform dream has turned into a nightmare and a potential drag on his bid for re-election. The biggest expansion of the government social service net in a generation now is drawing fire on several fronts:

The Health and Human Services general inspector's office is investigating a claim by the government's top expert on Medicare costs that the administration concealed from Congress the true cost of the program.

The House Ethics Committee plans to investigate whether threats and bribes were used to pass the bill in the House.

The General Accounting Office (GAO) is investigating whether the Bush administration spent millions of taxpayer dollars on TV ads touting the Medicare reform law that look suspiciously like Bush campaign commercials.