Re "A Long Night's Journey Into Yes in the House," Nov. 23: I am a Democrat, but I am tired of hearing that the Republicans stole votes, this time on the Medicare bill. The Republicans needed a few "yes" votes. In the middle of the night, President Bush leaned on some of his party members to change enough votes to pass the bill. Why didn't anyone work on the 16 Democrats to change from "yes" to "no"? Democracy only works if the energy on both sides is evenly matched. Our leaders let us down again. It's Florida all over.
The House deliberations and vote on prescription drugs and Medicare were hardly an example of democracy in action. So, here's an interesting project for a political science graduate student: Determine the sponsors of porkish elements of the energy bill and the omnibus spending legislation. Identify the final 30 members of the House who voted in favor of the prescription drug/Medicare proposal during an unprecedented three-hour floor vote. Look for a correlation and report back to us.
So, AARP is now a self-funded lobbyist for pharmaceutical companies and HMOs, using the organization's own money in active support of an onerous Medicare bill. Pretty unique situation. I'll continue to support the drug companies directly in my purchases at my neighborhood pharmacy, not through AARP. I canceled my membership.
Big surprise! AARP endorsed the Medicare plan. As a member of that association, which originally was set up to benefit retirees and is now open to all over 50, I receive every other week or so an invitation to acquire its medical insurance and, through its monthly magazine, am advised about the savings I can make by buying my prescriptions through its pharmacy. So AARP is in the business of selling both medical insurance and prescriptions. Guess who benefits most from the Medicare plan? Medical insurance providers, who will be subsidized and get to cover only the healthiest, and pharmaceutical companies and the pharmacies, which will not have to compete with lower pricing. AARP is not the friend of those who need prescription coverage.