Text of letter from taxpayer groups opposed to prescription drug bill

July 7, 2008 - 8:21 PM

(Editor's note: What follows is the text of a letter in which a number of taxpayer watchdog groups urged Congress to scrap the Medicare prescription drug plan currently working its way through Congress. The taxpayer groups call the bill "a huge entitlement expansion.")

The Honorable Tom DeLay
House Majority Leader
United States Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Majority Leader DeLay:

On behalf of the millions of members belonging to the undersigned taxpayer groups from across America, we write to strongly urge you to oppose the huge entitlement expansion contained in the Medicare prescription drug legislation currently moving through Congress.

Although Congress is attempting to limit the plan's cost to $400 billion over the next ten years, this bill would still foist upon American taxpayers the largest entitlement expansion since Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society." Unfortunately, $400 billion is likely to be just a baseline since Medicare itself now costs American taxpayers over seven times what it was projected to cost when it was created in the 1960s. On top of large increases in other federal spending, and in light of the coming crisis for Medicare and Social Security, this new prescription drug expenditure would be the height of fiscal irresponsibility.

Instead of being targeted at low-income seniors, the legislation which has passed both Houses would create universal coverage, even though 76 percent of seniors now have some form of prescription drug coverage, and the average senior spends less than $999 per year of their own funds on medications. Having middle income workers subsidizing drug costs for wealthy seniors -- as this bill would do -- may make sense to Ted Kennedy, but it makes no sense to us and is one of the worst features of this legislation.

Of course, this bill may actually worsen the situation for many seniors who currently enjoy good coverage. Many companies that now provide a drug benefit for their retirees will be inclined to discontinue that benefit once the federal government offers its own plan. According to recent Congressional Budget Office estimates, 37 percent of all retirees with employer-based coverage would lose that part of their retirement package under the Senate plan, while 32 percent would see such a loss under the House plan.

Subsidizing corporations that pledge not to drop their prescription drug coverage is not the answer. Such a provision won't stop huge numbers of companies from dropping coverage. And where it does, it will come at an unreasonable cost to taxpayers.

Our millions of members are opposed to this massive expansion of entitlement spending. We urge you to work with your fiscally conscientious colleagues in the House to scrap the current bill, and craft a bill that respects limited government principles. While some analysts argue that the disastrous legislation moving through Congress is "politically expedient," our millions of members call it something else: politically inexcusable. Taxpayers will remember those who had the courage to oppose this bill -- and those who didn't -- long after next year.

Sincerely,

National Taxpayers Union
John Berthoud, President
Virginia

Illinois Policy Institute
Greg Blankenship, Director
Illinois

Active Citizens Together
Douglas Bruce, Chairman
Colorado

Iowans for Tax Relief
David M. Stanley, Chairman
Iowa

Aitkin County Tax-Payers Union
Dale Merrell, President
Minnesota

Kansas Taxpayers Network
Karl Peterjohn, Executive Director
Kansas

Arkansas Taxpayers Rights Committee
Oscar Stilley, President
Arkansas

Maryland Taxpayers Association, Inc.
Richard Falknor, Executive Vice President
Maryland

Arlington County Taxpayers Association
Tim W. Wise, President
Virginia

National Tax Limitation Committee
Lewis K. Uhler, President
California

Citizens Against Government Waste
Thomas A. Schatz, President
Washington, DC

Nebraska Taxpayers Association
Ed Jaksha, Chairman
Nebraska

Citizens Against Higher Taxes
James Broussard, Chairman
Pennsylvania

Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom
Doug Kagan, Chairman
Nebraska

Citizens for an Alternative Tax System --
Santa Barbara, Earle Howey, Director
California

New York Tax Reform Organization
Fred Lane, Acting Chairman
New York

Citizens for Limited Taxation
Barbara Anderson, Executive Director
Massachusetts

Ohio Taxpayers Association
Scott A. Pullins J.D., Chairman/CEO
Ohio

Citizen Outreach
Chuck Muth, President
Washington, DC

Oregon Taxpayers Union
Bill Sizemore, President
Oregon

ConservativeHQ.com
Richard Viguerie, President
Virginia

Public Interest Institute
Don Racheter, President
Iowa

Douglas County Taxpayers Association
Kevin Peterson, Chairman
Wisconsin

Taxpayer Protection Alliance
Lori Klein, President
Arizona

Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance
Arthur G. Purves, President
Virginia

Taxpayers for Common Sense
Jill Lancelot, President
Washington, DC

Family Taxpayers Network
Jack Roeser, President
Illinois

Taxpayers League of Minnesota
Linda Runbeck, President
Minnesota

Florida Tax Watch
Dominic Calabro, President
Florida

Tennessee Tax Revolt
Ben Cunningham, Chairman
Tennessee

Granite State Taxpayers
Gary Daniels, President
New Hampshire

United Californians for Tax Reform
Roland A. Boucher, Chairman
California

Greene County Taxpayers Association
Michael Smith, Founder
Virginia

Utah Taxpayers Association
Howard Stephenson, President
Utah

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
Jon Coupal, President
California

West Virginians Against Government Waste
Henry L. Thaxton, Director
West Virginia

Idahoans for Tax Reform
Laird Maxwell, Chairman
Idaho

York County Taxpayers Council
Warren Bulette, President
Pennsylvania