Monday, September 1, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Protect Medicare’s Part D lifeline

By
From page A7 | December 18, 2012 |

The possibility of going over the “fiscal cliff” means different things to different groups. For Medicare recipients, any reduction in the Part D program, which provides affordable prescription drugs, is a frightening prospect. And it’s just one more reason that President Barack Obama and Congress need to find a solution that doesn’t involve arbitrary across-the-board cuts under sequestration.

The uncertainty sure makes me pay attention. Like other Medicare recipients, I recently selected my Part D plan for 2013. Call me a satisfied customer. And while cuts under sequestration could limit my means to buy affordable medicines, I will not be hurt as severely as many other seniors and disabled veterans. Fortunately, I am still able to earn income by writing and teaching part time. I also will not be hurt by the hike in the Medicare age eligibility on the table.

But not everyone is so fortunate. I spoke with 82-year-old Austin R. Curry, executive director of Elder Care Advocacy of Florida, about the fate of Medicare and Medicaid if intransigence wins in Washington.

For 30 years, Curry has been involved in senior affairs and was part of the launching of Part D in 2003. He understands that as the nation attempts to solve its many fiscal challenges, Medicare needs to evolve.

“But any changes must be implemented in a meticulous manner,” he said. “Arbitrary changes would be detrimental to the individuals who depend on Part D.

“It benefits the people and saves lives and should be recognized as a best practice. I have seen firsthand in Florida how it has helped seniors and persons with disabilities. Part D is working for those who would not be able to afford medications without it. We are facing unprecedented financial difficulties, but with the right changes, the program will remain a success and continue to help millions of seniors for years to come.”

As Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, a leading trade group, noted in a report that compiled extensive academic research on Medicare Part D:

  • Overall cost is 43 percent, or $435 billion, below initial projections.
  • Satisfaction rate among beneficiaries is 88 percent.
  • Seniors save money through monthly premiums as low as $14.
  • Low-income beneficiaries have access to medicines at little or no cost.
  • It has lowered Medicare spending by helping patients avoid costly hospitalizations and other health care services.

Curry, an Air Force veteran of the Korean conflict, said as lawmakers and the president negotiate, they need to remember that the Part D prescription drug program is essential, providing life-saving medications to those often in dire need.

“Even a 10 percent reduction in Part D will result in the deaths of many, as they are unable to afford the difference since many have hundreds of dollars a month in critical medications,” Curry said. “Most Medicare enrollees cannot even afford an extra $50 or $100 in additional monthly expense.”

Although legislators have legitimate concerns over an exploding federal budget deficit, reducing debt and spurring economic growth, they should keep in mind that our so-called entitlements are not equally effective. Medicare Part D is a worthy program, delivering exceptional value at a lower cost by using competitive prescription drug bidding. It is a lifeline that serves mostly senior citizens on fixed incomes.

It should be protected from cuts that would merely shift problems to other federal and state programs.

Bill Maxwell is a columnist for the Tampa Bay Times. E-mail bmaxwell@sptimes.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Highway 12 project nears completion

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

‘Snail mail’ still kinda cool

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Democrats plan candidates meet, greet

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3, 2 Comments

 
Stand Up 2 Cancer Viewing party set in Vacaville

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Senior center schedules discussion on senior travel

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Local government schedule meetings

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
 
Car club raises funds, supplies for SPCA

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

Goodwill opens Outlet Store in Fairfield

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Premier post details of new lease

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7

 
Il Fiorello to host jazz event

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
New doctors join NorthBay

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A7

Small earthquakes shake Solano

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

 
.

Opinion

 
Whopper of a tax dodge for Burger King

By Mike Kirchubel | From Page: A8, 27 Comments

 
Is social media enlarging or stifling democracy?

By Cynthia M. Allen | From Page: A8

Compromise on Cordelia Road rail crossing costs

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

 
Justice for all

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 9 Comments

Good job, Susan Winlow

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoon: Sept. 1, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

.

Living

Community Calendar: Sept. 1, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Sept. 1, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Is my husband right when he says men aren’t made for monogamy?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 1, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Sept. 2, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
5 takeaways from a punch-less summer box office

By Jake Coyle | From Page: A11

Joan Rivers’ daughter: I’m keeping fingers crossed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Source: 49ers OL Boone agrees to new 2-yr deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
49er Ray McDonald accused of domestic violence

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Kahne holds off Kenseth to win Atlanta shootout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Wozniacki outlasts Sharapova, in US Open quarters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Falcons looking to be defensive

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Down at half, US beats Turkey in basketball worlds

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Source: Chiefs’ Smith agrees to 4-yr extension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Tony Stewart’s return to race track ends early

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sam clears waivers, meets with Fisher

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

FC Kansas City wins NWSL title over Seattle, 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raiders claim DE Mayowa off waivers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jensen waived after Jaguars awarded TE Shuler

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Otto wins Italian Open; Gallacher comes up short

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Weather for Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Henley takes a 1-shot lead at Deutsche Bank

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Dunn dealt to A’s, could be his last shot playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Fred Couples wins Champions Tour event

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

A’s frustrated after 8-1 loss caps sweep by Angels

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Ernst wins LPGA’s Portland Classic in playoff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Giants power past Brewers 15-5 for 3-game sweep

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
This date in sports history for Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Laurie Danielson Bailey

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
Hazel Gertrude Wamsley

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Jerry Lee Trammell

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 6 Comments

 
.

Comics

Rose is Rose Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4, 1 Comment

 
Sally Forth Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth Sept 1

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baldo Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Garfield Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

B.C. Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Word Sleuth Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Crossword Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Cryptoquote Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Sudoku Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Bridge Sept 2

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7