Are Drug Companies and Congress Trying to Kill Off Old People?

Bernard Gotfryd - Library of Congress

 As people age, they are more likely than not to suffer from chronic diseases such as COPD, Atrial Fibrillation, Arthritis,  Asthma, and Cancer. Left untreated these diseases can kill an individual, or in the case of arthritis, cause debilitating pain.  The disorders are bad enough, but other factors contribute to the suffering of the seniors who are unlucky enough to be afflicted by them.

Seniors are more likely to be retired and depend upon Medicare for their healthcare. Unfortunately, thanks to our Republican friends in Congress, Medicare is not allowed to negotiate for lower drug prices, as private insurers are allowed to do. The consequences are that drug prices are the highest in the world. Retired seniors are also on a fixed income, so they cannot pay high out-of-pocket expenses for much-needed drugs. If a retiree is not considered wealthy or has just enough money not to qualify for Medicare, he/she has no other recourse, but to suffer and eventually die.

For those retirees suffering from Atrial Fibrillation or COPD, the average cost of medication is over $600 per month! The average Social Security check is $1500 per month. If you have both diseases, your Social Security income is almost wiped out. For many retirees, Social Security is the only source of income. The lucky ones also have pension plans and retirement savings in addition to Social Security. But these can be decimated by a catastrophic illness in no time at all.

If this isn’t depressing enough, think of all of us who suffer from one of these ailments watching our favorite TV programs when an ad comes on touting the latest prescription drug that promises to ease our symptoms and make life more enjoyable. We get excited and search the internet for the cost of the drug. Then we discover the cost to be $400, $500, $600, or more a month! We also see that little note saying we may be eligible to pay $0 for our prescription. We read it and once again see that this does not apply to those receiving Medicare!

I have friends living in other countries who have some of the same afflictions as I do, but pay little or nothing for their medications. Why? Because our members of Congress, who themselves have excellent prescription drug plans, are owned by pharmaceutical companies. They make a fortune from the drug companies by voting to keep drug prices high for the people who need the drugs the most.

It’s bad enough that we seniors have to live with the ailments of old age. We don’t need the added stress of having to worry about how we can afford the medications that may keep us alive and at the same time be able to eat and enjoy what time we have left on earth.


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