The health care debate in the presidential race has focused on how to cover the 47 million people who cannot afford the health coverage offered by insurance companies but do not qualify for current government programs. There has been little discussion about how to protect and strengthen this countryás most successful public health program: Medicare.
For forty years, Medicare has provided secure, affordable coverage for doctor visits and hospital care to older adults and people with disabilities. The prescription drug coverage that was added to Medicare in 2006 has not provided the same security. Run exclusively by private companies, Part D drug coverage is in constant flux, with prices, premiums and copayments rising and drugs being dropped from coverage.
People with Medicare should have the option to receive drug coverage through Original Medicare, not through an insurance company.
A public option will allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices and guarantee coverage for the medicine citizens need.
Now is the time to make drug coverage affordable and reliable for people with Medicare by contacting legislators and asking that they support the Medicare Prescription Drug Savings and Choice Act of 2007 (HB Bill 2219) in the House and SB 2219 in the Senate which will provide a drug option under the Original Medicare.
Thais Blatnik, Medicare Rights Center, Consumer Action Board, Wheeling