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May 15, 2013

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Dennis: You SHOULD care. All Americans should. Why should we, the tax payers, spend billions more on drugs for Medicare just because of a clause in the Medicare Part D Drug Plan that is nothing more than a taxpayer funded giveaway to the pharmaceutical companies? This is a no brainer. This could save taxpayers $141.2 billion! I've been outraged over this insane giveaway to the pharmaceutical companies for years now. FINALLY someone's come forward to do something about it. It was nothing more than further evidence that our government has become corrupt. Congressmen added the clause to the Medicare Part D Drug Plan in exchange for campaign donations. They do it because they know they can get away with it. They do it, Dennis, because there are too many Americans like yourself who say "who cares." We all need to start caring more if we want our Republic to survive and if democracy is still important to us.

For most seniors like me, Rockefeller's bill is kind of a "Who cares?" Ninety percent of us seniors are not dual eligibles and more than 95% of us seniors have relatively low prescription drug costs. That is, less than 5% of us seniors are affected by the much-dreaded but over-hyped donut hole. Most of us are protected by a combination of relative good health, Medicare Part D itself, the Part D Extra Help program for low-income seniors, donut-hole coverage that upper-income seniors can buy, and state aid in 22 states for middle-income seniors.

Seventy percent of us (middle- and upper-income) seniors pay $50 a month for our drugs AND our insurance premium on average, which is kind of reasonable when you consider that we are -- let's face it -- old. And in aggregate it's over a trillion dollars less than we paid before Part D. (Remember, it's six years later. We are not the same people.) And 25% of us seniors (low income) pay nothing for our drugs and drug premiums (or pay only very low nominal co-pays).

From the government's point of view (as opposed to us seniors' perspective), it's the "government's money," so the government should get to say how it is spent.

But the Rockefeller proposal seems to forget the bipartisan history behind Part D. We've been where he wants to go before and it sucked for poor seniors. That's one of the reasons we have Part D. .

I suggest reading Chapter 15 of the 2013 Annual Report to Congress by the MedPAC organization. (MedPAC also has older but longer reports that go back to the creation of Part D for anyone who wants even more detail.)

Among the many explicit and implicit misunderstandings about Part D is the total lack of understanding of how Part D helped low-income seniors after its passage. The current approach is much preferable to the way in which the previous government-negotiated VA-like process for low-income seniors worked. Almost 50% of Part D funds go to help low-income seniors and this is not a new post-Part-D expense to government. Most low income seniors always got help -- albeit second-tier help -- with their meds from Medicaid.

Many more players are involved than pharmaceutical manufacturers getting "corporate welfare." In fact, I'm sure those manufacturers could basically care less if we return to that old negotiated VA-like two-tier system. They'll still sell their drugs directly to the rest of us seniors (probably at a higher price).But the poor will be unable to get the more expensive life-saving drugs that they now get through Part D.

But again, for most of us "Who cares?" Certainly not a Rockefeller.

Since Bush Started the Medicare Part D Drug Plan My monthly Prices Went up over 275.00 more for Meds.Then for over the Past year Prices of long often meds thru Medicare are jumping monthly,these are meds that have long been out of Patent,however they are being Shorted in the long run in generic versions intentioning requires Long out of patent availble only in (Brand Name), are the quality of the meds are such poor Quality they are defenatly from NON-FDA Pharmacy's and Sold thru out TN Pharmacy's,Especally Walmart Store and are Junk and if they even contain Supposedly the meds they claim to be Are of such Low amounts they are in-effective.Continued Complaints do no good,we need FDA inspectors here to check these meds,They include all typres meds from Pain Med to Colon meds,including anti-diarrea meds,Nexium,and Blood pressure Medications.This has gotten worse long before The So-called Seqestration B.S.

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