Affordable Prescription Drugs: A Matter of
Life and Death
September 21, 2000
I consider my aunt to be a very healthy woman but I was shocked
to learn that her prescription drug bill is over three hundred dollars
a month. She now pays as much to stay healthy as she did years ago
for her first home payment. My aunt should be enjoying life, not
struggling to maintain it.
My uncle however is dead. Before he passed, he faced a heavy burden
of expensive health care, particularly after his plant shut down
and he lost his medical insurance. He wasn't able to find affordable
health care because he previously had heart surgery and also had
cancer. As long as he was working, he was covered. When he was no
longer working, he was essentially abandoned by our health care
My Aunt and Uncle were not Wall Street big-shots, nor were they
the CEOs of an internet company. Too young for Medicare, perhaps
my Uncle didn't have to die so young. My aunt is working now and
so has prescription drug insurance coverage. However, what about
our seniors? Shouldn't we make prescription drugs available to them
so they can enjoy life, itself? We all may find ourselves in their
shoes one day. How we address this issue will determine our well-being
in the future as well as the well-being of our nation. Assistance
for our seniors must be a top priority for Congress.
It's a sad nation that discriminates against its mothers and fathers,
grandmothers and grandfathers. We must remember that today's elderly
fought for our freedom. They gave us our culture and made this the
greatest country on the planet.
Now they need our help… They deserve to get it.
The costs of prescription drugs are skyrocketing. Prices sometimes
double for my aunt between prescription refills. A voluntary prescription
drug program for Medicare is necessary to make our health care system
for seniors complete. Congressional Democrats have been trying to
enact a real, affordable, voluntary, and reliable Medicare prescription
drug benefit for America's seniors. But the big insurance and pharmaceutical
lobbies are standing in our way. What they offer is an alternative
option that won't work and that isn't guaranteed. We know Medicare
will always be there.
To help our seniors find even lower costs for their prescription
drugs, this benefit should require private benefit providers to
negotiate lower drug prices for seniors, giving seniors the same
benefits that other large purchasing groups like HMO's currently
Affordable health care for our seniors should be provided with
a smile; we shouldn't have to fight to provide them this right.
Member of Congress
Georgia's 4th Congressional District