Less than six months after passage of an extremely limited Medicare prescription benefit, and the revelation that the price tag will be significantly higher than the Bush Administration claimed, conservatives are already saying "we can't afford it, as in this op-ed piece from the Heritage Foundation: Medicare drug benefit proves to be unaffordable.
Meanwhile, increasing numbers of Americans are cutting doses and meals to help stretch expensive drugs, making them much less effective: More Americans save by lowering medicine dosage, and the number of medically related bankruptcies continues to rise from nearly 500,000 in 2000 to over 800,000 today (no direct link, but click on the "NBC's Ellis on rising medical bankruptcies" javatext link at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/.
So what's the solution? It's simple -- for starters, use the government's purchasing power to negotiate much lower prices for Medicare drugs, and mandate those same prices be passed through to all Americans. That approach is favored by 65% in a recent poll, yet is specifically banned by the Medicare "reform" legislation. Maybe because the health care industry is the second biggest contributor to Republicans after energy?
-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
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