Thursday, June 28, 2007

President's Letter: June 2007 -- Let your congresspeople know that Medicare Part D needs fixing

All the bad predictions about Medicare Part D are coming true, and the reality is cruel for many seniors. Far from reducing the cost of prescription drugs through competition between the private plans, costs have increased faster than the rate of inflation and faster than seniors' cost of living adjustments. In fact, the median increase is approximately three times faster than COLA, leaving seniors hard-pressed to pay for the medicines they need.

The biggest beneficiaries are the drug companies, of course, whose profits are protected. They threaten the long-term viability of the Medicare system since their huge profits drive up Medicare costs.

When politicians have to deal with the growing Medicare expense, seniors will have few friends. It's critical that everyone affected—seniors and their families—push their Congressional representatives now for relief from this poorly conceived plan with its absurd and damaging "doughnut hole" that places their wellbeing in jeopardy.

Hawaii families concerned about this issue should write or call our Congressional delegation and ask them to push for sensible control of prescription drug prices and an end to the "doughnut hole." Recent attempts to put a weak drug negotiation provision into Medicare failed to pass. We need to push them to do better.

Sitting over in Washington, can they understand the reality of falling into a "doughnut hole" and having to bear an incredible expense for necessary medicines? Tell them about it. Their phone numbers are in your phone book.

Please also support Kokua Council through your membership and donations. Consider becoming a life member. Ask us how you can join in the fight for better medical care for all of Hawaii's citizens. If you have special skills or areas of expertise, please let us know.