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Gosar, Quayle, and RetireSafe work to protect seniors


By Thair Phillips
 
Many different changes to the Medicare system have been proposed by those who are elected to serve us in Washington.  It should be noted that few things done by government work well and even fewer cost less than expected.  One program that has about an 80% approval rating and costs considerably less than predicted is Medicare Part D.  That is why it is so puzzling to see that there are government leaders in Washington who would like to change the program, a change that will put nearly one million Arizona residents who are currently eligible at risk for higher premiums and less access to needed medications.
 
The structure of the Medicare drug program works.  The government funds the program, but private insurers are responsible for creating and managing the plans.  Insurers negotiate drug prices and formularies with the pharmaceutical companies and design a wide range of plans for the Part D consumer.  All the patient needs to do is pick the plan that best meets their health needs.  This free market principle provides for competition and choice, and the grand result has been a lowered Medicare Part D cost for our government.  Some plans in Arizona are priced as low as $15 per month.
 
One ill-considered plan circulating in Congress would mandate that drug companies who sell Part D plans provide a rebate on drugs which are sold to low-income Medicare Part D participants.  It’s basically a modified Medicaid mandate.  While the American public hears the word ‘rebate’ and sees it as a good thing, the fact of the matter is that this ‘rebate’ will not be paid to the low-income participants of Medicare Part D – it will be given to the government.
 
If these lawmakers are successful, we can anticipate disastrous results.  The price of drugs sold to those who don’t qualify for low-income rebates will be raised.  Many drugs will be discontinued.  The domino effect will be higher prices and fewer options, and insurers will raise their prices and Part D participants will pay higher premiums, higher co-pays and have fewer drug choices.
 
We at RetireSafe support the current Medicare Part D system, and we recently awarded Congressmen Ben Quayle and Paul Gosar for their staunch opposition to this flawed reform and their continuing efforts to protect Arizona seniors.  We encourage all elected officials not to try to “fix” a program that is working well and maintaining affordable premiums.

Thair Phillips

President of RetireSafe

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