HIGHTOWER: The Fraud of "Citizens for Better Medicare"

How many legs does a dog have if you count its tail as a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it one.

Neither can "Citizens for Better Medicare" be counted as a grassroots group just because its organizers call it one. This outfit has already spent $38 million on television ads proposing federal funding of prescription drugs for seniors. Sounds good, but who exactly are these "Citizens" for Better Medicare? The organization turns out to be a front group for the large drug companies. The Wall Street Journal reports that CBM is funded by the drug giants, and its headed by the former marketing director of the industry's lobbying arm.

While CBM wants Medicare to cover prescriptions, it's also adamant that the government should do nothing to hold down the prices that the companies charge for these prescriptions. What a deal! These huge corporations, already notorious for gouging American consumers, would gain millions of new customers through Medicare, then be able to bill us taxpayers for whatever rip-off price the profiteers want to charge. It's like bank robbers demanding that government tie up the guards and hold open the doors to the bank vault for them.

This so-called citizens group claims to have 300,000 members, but the Journal notes that anyone who clicks onto the group's web site automatically is counted as a "member." CBM also lists medical organizations as supporters, yet several of these groups have complained that they never gave permission and do not support the drug companies greedy grab.

Meanwhile, not only are the drug giants flooding the airwaves with deceptive ads, but they're flooding the halls of congress with some 300 hired lobbyists, and so far they've flooded our lawmakers with more than $11 million in campaign contributions for this fall's elections.

This is Jim Hightower saying ... Yes, Medicare should cover prescription drugs for seniors, but, like other countries, Medicare should negotiate a deeply-discounted price to keep the drug companies from robbing us.

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