The Problems with the Medicare Drug Program - and How to Fix Them

This video comes courtesy of Families USA a national nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the achievement of high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans. JSPAN is a part of Pennsylvanians United to Fix Part D, a coalition of organizations committed to fixing or improving the Medicare Part D coverage gap. As it now stands, millions of seniors are on the verge or have already fallen into the "donught hole," a gap in the coverage Medicare Part D provides on perscription drugs.
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Ken Fox's Statement to the Press (7/12/06) My name is Ken Fox. I am a Vice President of the Jewish Social Policy Action Network (“JSPAN”). JSPAN is an organization of American Jews who seek, among other things, to advance equality and opportunity for all women and men in our pluralistic democracy and to secure for ourselves and society the benefits of Jewish learning and culture. JSPAN prides itself on being a voice for the Jewish community, articulating progressive principles drawn from Jewish tradition. Jewish tradition teaches us about our special obligations to look after the elderly and the poor. JSPAN is a partner in the coalition Pennsylvanians United to Fix Part D. We join Pennsylvania Action at this press conference today because we are concerned about how flaws in Medicare’s prescription drug coverage affects, and will continue to affect, seniors throughout Pennsylvania and across the country. As we have come to learn, under Medicare Part D, seniors pay a premium, a deductible, and a co-pay for their medications. Each year, once a senior’s total annual drug costs exceed $2,250, they fall into the so-called “doughnut hole”. Their drug coverage is interrupted, their plans pay nothing, and seniors must pay the next $2,850 in drug expenses entirely out of their own pockets – while they continue to pay their monthly premiums. The next year, the process begins again. As it has been explained to me, this will happen all over again, year after year, and each year the size of the doughnut hole will get bigger and bigger. Most of our parents and grandparents live on fixed incomes. For too many of them, it is a struggle to afford the thousands of dollars it costs every year to pay for the medications they need. Medicare Part D already has proven itself to be confusing and in many respects inadequate to address the needs and concerns faced by our senior citizens. We look to Congress, our elected representatives, to recognize the problems that exist, and fix them in a manner that respects and addresses the special concerns that we all must share for the elderly and the poor in our community. We ask Congress to fix Part D so that it is simple, affordable, and works.