April 18, 2007 /

Republicans Filibuster Medicare

Why do they hate our seniors? The Senate blocked legislation on Wednesday that would let the government negotiate Medicare drug prices. Democrats couldn’t muster the 60 votes needed to bring the bill up for a vote. Under the Medicare drug benefit, private insurance plans negotiate with drug makers over the price of medicine for their […]

Why do they hate our seniors?

The Senate blocked legislation on Wednesday that would let the government negotiate Medicare drug prices. Democrats couldn’t muster the 60 votes needed to bring the bill up for a vote.

Under the Medicare drug benefit, private insurance plans negotiate with drug makers over the price of medicine for their customers. About 22 million seniors and the disabled are enrolled in such plans. Some lawmakers, mostly Democrats, contend the government could use its leverage to drive a better bargain than individual insurers, which would lower the cost of the program for taxpayers and seniors.

But Republicans countered Wednesday that the program is costing much less than expected precisely because it’s the private sector, not the secretary of Health and Human Services, conducting the negotiations. They successfully blocked a motion to proceed to the bill. The tally was 55-42, five short of the votes needed to move ahead

So we get to stick with the current program as is. Let’s see how that works.

¬†A senior picks a program before January 1 because that program’s formulary contains their prescription drugs. Come February, the program decides to change the formulary and drop this person’s drugs. That person is now stuck with needed drugs not being covered for the rest of the year. They can not change programs again until first of the year.

I know people will say this is the extreme and to them I say you are flat out wrong. This happens on a daily basis. I know of countless seniors that had to stop taking drugs or weren’t able to pay for other things such as electric because of this screwed up system.

Last year when all the problems were coming out, John Boehner (then Majority Leader) would not even talk to the seniors in his district. They invited him to large meetings to speak, but that was always met with a form letter saying “the program works”. His office was also very rude to people calling in. So why wasn’t he in a hurry to go cheerlead for this great program when it was “working so well”? Simple – John Boehner is a typical Republican liar.

This is key reason why we need to enlarge our Senate majority come 2008. We have a very good possibility at doing it, and if we can keep the House majority (also something promising), then we can really revamp Medicare. This is something that effects everyone in this country Рif you need it/will need it or not.

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