Grassroots delegates from 10 states joined Senator Rockefeller’s office to host a town hall today at the Capitol Senate Budget Committee Room. Also supported by Budget Committee Chair Senator Patty Murray’s office, the town hall was held to address health disparities, the national budget and specifically the importance of the Medicare Prescription Drug Savings Act.
Citing austerity economics and the push for a “Grand Bargain” as key factors in efforts to cut Americans from receiving benefits through Medicare and Medicaid, The Alliance for a Just Society set the stage for the discussion. “There are cost savings options available to the American people—that make pharmaceutical companies responsible for paying their own fair share and stop the handout of taxpayer dollars to supersize corporate profits, “ Mauricio Ayon Political Director of Washington Community Action Network and a member of the Alliance.
Medicare Part D, enacted in 2003 and put into effect in 2006 has a provision that bars the entire program from negotiating market rate prices on prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries. Proponents of the Medicare Drug Savings Act cite research that shows as little as $140 Billion could be saved over ten years. Some estimates go as high as $540 Billion.
Especially, said Ayon, when the result is increasing disparities in a health system that already denies impoverished, the uninsured, and Americans of color proper healthcare services.
Havi Glaser, of Senator Rockefeller’s office said,”they should are the ones who can’t afford their healthcare, and I believe the time is now to change that equation.
It was not congressional intent to lose rebates for dual eligibles when Medicare part D went into effect. The savings we can realize with a rebate program– even in Washington, that’s real money. $140billion,” she continued.
“I have spent my life fighting for the family farm. Until I realized that there was another issue: healthcare.
My wife and I are considered uninsurable. We will have to pay $16000 this year in deductible.
This should be an embarrassment,” said Chris Petersen of Iowa. Petersen is a family farmer and a member of the Iowa Main Street Alliance.
Other speakers included:
Melissa Dunn of Maine
Gina Owens of Washington State
Melody Rice of Montana
Gloria Hobbs of Ohio
Speak up and tell Congress to pass the Medicare Drug Savings Act. Follow this link and sign the national petition.
Then go to hookedonpharma.com and find other ways to get the word out– save benefits save taxpayer money!!
Other Senators represented include:
Tom Udall, New Mexico
Angus King, Maine
Sherrod Brown, Ohio
Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut
Carl Levin, Michigan