Campaign for America's Future
FEBRUARY 17, 2004
3:37 PM
CONTACT:  Campaign for America's Future
Toby Chaudhuri: 202/955-5665
America's Future Asks Networks to Suspend Bush Medicare Ads

WASHINGTON - February 17 - The Campaign for America's Future today joined many citizen organizations and members of Congress to demand that major broadcast networks suspend airing television advertisements produced by the Bush Administration that misrepresent dramatic changes made to the Medicare system by recently enacted legislation. The group questioned the use of public funds to support the television campaign widely characterized as an extension of the Bush-Cheney reelection effort in letters to the heads of all the major television and cable networks.

"Your network is currently airing a misleading television advertisement about the new Medicare prescription drug program recently passed by Congress," began the missive from Campaign for America's Future Co-directors Roger Hickey and Bob Borosage. "We urge you to suspend airing these ads until questions regarding their accuracy are addressed and pending an ongoing government investigation into their propriety."

"The Bush Administration's political ad is a bitter pill to swallow," said Hickey. "The Bush Medicare plan increases corporate profits for drug companies while forcing millions of people that depend on medication to live to pay higher premiums for less benefits. That's not the same Medicare with the same benefits."

More than 2500 people across the country organized by the Campaign for America's Future this week will meet with their elected officials to demand that they repeal and replace President Bush's prescription drug plan. They will also demand that the ads be taken off the air, urging their members of Congress and Senators to ask the Bush Administration for answers about the advertisement in more than 100 face-to-face meetings nationwide citing misleading information in their content.

The ad incorrectly states that the new law provides the "same Medicare" with the "same benefits." In fact, millions of Medicare beneficiaries will have reduced benefits with higher premiums due to the new prescription drug law.

Also following the Bush Administration's announcement this month that it will use $9.5 million for the television ad campaign to defend the new Medicare law from criticism, Members of Congress last week ordered a General Accounting Office investigation into how tax-payer funds were used and how the production and media contracts were awarded.

The media firm, National Media Inc. of Arlington, Virginia, which works for the President's reelection campaign, the Republican Party and drug companies, was hired to purchase the air time without a clear competitive bidding process. As a result, several members of Congress asked the broadcast networks to suspend airing the ads, and CBS has already agreed to stop airing them.