News Release

* Medicare Profiteers * Jobs * Mutual Funds * HealthSouth

ALAN SAGER
DEBORAH SOCOLAR
Sager and Socolar are co-directors of the Health Reform Program at Boston University’s School of Public Health. They have recently released a report entitled “New Medicare Rx Benefit Means Big Profits for Drug Makers.” The report finds that “an estimated 61.1 percent of the Medicare dollars that will be spent to buy more prescriptions will remain in the hands of drug makers as added profits. This windfall means an estimated $139 billion in increased profits over eight years.”
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DOUG HENWOOD
Productivity numbers are scheduled to come out Thursday, job growth and unemployment on Friday. Editor of Left Business Observer, Henwood is author of the new book After the New Economy. He said today: “We learned last week that the U.S. economy grew at a 7.2 percent annual rate in the third quarter — even though we lost 41,000 jobs. Will these divergent trends continue? While pundits are busy celebrating the productivity boom, what it means in human terms is that the growth numbers have little connection with human welfare. Unlike earlier recessions, when laid-off workers were recalled when the cycle turned, this time the job losses look permanent and the new hires slow in coming. Employers are content to work existing staff harder and outsource the rest.” [Also, see: www.jobwatch.org] More Information

TONY TINKER
Professor of accountancy at Baruch College and author of Paper Prophets: A Social Critique of Accounting, Tinker said today: “Many people escaped from the stock market and their dot-com investments into what they thought was a safe haven of mutual funds, only to find that they became victims of insider dealing in the mutual fund market. Insiders and their friends got handouts at the expense of other investors…. The SEC — once again — was asleep at the wheel and thereby acquiesced to the mutual fund violations…. We shouldn’t be too hard on the SEC, however. For years, Congress underfunded the agency and reduced it to a regulatory joke…. Now, as we witness the ‘outrage’ of congressmen during their current investigations into the mutual funds, we should remember that these are the same hypocrites who engineering this situation during their privatization binge.”
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RUSSELL MOKHIBER
Editor of Corporate Crime Reporter, Mokhiber said today: “The mistrial of banker Frank Quattrone, and the gathering storm over the Enron Task Force and its failure to bring Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling to justice, puts tremendous pressure on the federal prosecutors in the HealthSouth case. HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy didn’t mind answering Mike Wallace’s questions on ’60 Minutes,’ but refused to answer questions under oath before Congress. He’s started a web site that proclaims his innocence. At Scrushy’s trial, there will be no Tyco-like video with vodka spewing out of the penis of an ice sculpture of Michelangelo’s David, but the government does have the cooperation of 14 of Scrushy’s former colleagues — all willing and able to testify against him. Scrushy says he will take the stand in his own defense. The government should win a conviction. Either way, it’s time to simplify the laws governing corporate crime and violence and beef up the resources available to the corporate crime police.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167