Larry Kerschner Writes


Stuck for a Year

Editor, The Chronicle,
     Every day I see how inhumane the current Republican White House and Congress are.  I have been trying to help my patients understand the supposed Medicare prescription drug benefit that will go into effect on January 1, 2006.  All recipients of Medicare must sign up for a plan before the end of the year.  If they do not sign up by January they will be charged a higher premium later in the year for each month they have not signed up.  There are dozens of plans available and each plan charges a different amount for a number of different levels of coverage.

      In the capitalist system if you buy a large amount of something generally you can reduce your per unit cost.  The Veterans Administration negotiates with pharmaceutical companies to get lower cost medications for veterans.  However with this new law, the Congress caved in to drug company lobbyists so this law specifically states that the government cannot bargain the price of the covered medications.  This gave the drug companies a huge built in profit.  A few million dollars for lobbyists can lead to a few billion dollars in profits taken out the pockets of average Americans. When you finally choose a plan you are committed to that plan for a year. Generally you will look at the lists of medications that each plan covers and try to choose a plan that covers most if not all of your medications. 

      What they don't tell you is that while you are stuck with a plan for a year, the insurance companies can change the medications that they cover whenever they want.  You can pick a plan to cover that medication that costs you several hundred dollars a month and the insurance company can stop covering it.  So you are stuck with paying your premiums with no coverage for a year without any redress.  Tell me again about compassionate conservative.

Larry Kerschner   POB 397 Pe Ell WA 98572   (H) 360-291-3946  (W) 360-291-3232

Only the man who has fully attained his own spiritual identity can live without the need to kill. -- Thomas Merton