Monday, August 07, 2006

A DeKlining Rx Spells Trouble For Minnesota's Seniors

Medicare beneficiaries with high drug costs "increasingly" are entering the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage know as the 'doughnut hole', and experts say the issue could have political implications for the congressional elections in November. Congressman John Kline voted to give our seniors a doughnut hole in lieu of adequate health insurance and now he’s worried that the bill will come due before election day....

Minnesota seniors who signed up for Medicare's standard prescription drug coverage pay a monthly premium, a $250 deductible and 25 percent of the cost of medication from $251 to $2,250. but seniors are 100 percent responsible for the cost of their drugs from $2,251 to $5,100. Many seniors have reached their limits on coverage and will soon pay 100 percent of the cost of their prescriptions. Seven million seniors will face dire health and financial consequences as they begin falling into Medicare Part D’s ‘doughnut hole’.

In a move seen to be pre-emptive damage control, The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is paying $10 million on a barrage of Medicare television and radio ads about Medicare prescription coverage that are airing in Minnesota and across the country. The ads are to promote those like Kline who crafted, supported and voted for the Medicare plan change.

In crafting Part D last year, Republicans could have allowed Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices like the Veterans Administration does. Instead, they chose to side with the drug companies and shift costs to seniors and people with disabilities.

The pharmaceutical companies with John Kline’s help has killed every attempt to allow Americans to benefit from the same low drug costs that other countries enjoy. It’s no surprise that:
  • Big drug interests have given $100,850 to Kline over the Representative's career. They know who their friends are.
  • Rep. Kline voted for the GOP Medicare Prescription Drug Bill that will give billions to businesses and the health care industry, while forcing seniors to accept annual increases in premiums and deductibles and a growing gap in coverage for the prescription drugs they buy.
  • Rep. Kline voted against allowing millions of Americans to save their hard-earned dollars on prescription drugs by re-importing them from Canada, even though these were U.S. made and patient safety was ensured.
It’s too bad Kline couldn’t ues the millions that big drug companies and the Chamber of Commerce are currently spending on ‘feel good’ commercials and off-set the negative damage of seniors facing financial or medical ruin. All Americans should benefit from the same great medical insurance as Congressman Kline….unfortunately until both Kline and the drug companies can profit from it, our senior will have to go without.

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