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Bush Campaign Should Refund Taxpayers for Flawed Medicare Ads

March 11, 2004

Bush Campaign Should Refund Taxpayers for Flawed Medicare Ads


Statement of Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook

The General Accounting Office (GAO) report on the Bush administration’s Medicare ads highlights the waste and deception that characterize the Medicare prescription drug bill and its corporate giveaways. The GAO said it best when it noted that despite “[Health and Human Service’s] stated interest in informing beneficiaries of changes to Medicare, we observe several noteworthy omissions in HHS’s materials.”

While the GAO found that the ads’ “political tone” did not “constitute a purely partisan message,” the taxpayers deserve their wasted money back.

How can Bush possibly justify placing ads in the Washington-insider newspaper Roll Call, given that people eligible for Medicare – 65 and older – constitute just 3 percent of its readership? How can Bush call this an education campaign when the GAO found “noteworthy omissions” in the ads that “may lead beneficiaries to underestimate the amount they will need to pay for prescription drugs”?

It is ironic that while Bush chastises Congress to be “wise with the people’s money,” he spends more than $22 million of the people’s money on inaccurate political advertisements. His campaign should refund the taxpayer’s money for these political advertisements and he should pull the ads.