Dear President Bush,
Just today one of the citizens you serve wrote to you about their plight under the new Medicare Prescription drug program. Excerpts from the letter are below:
Dear President Bush,
I am writing to you in regards to your Medicare prescription plan. I am here to inform you that your plan in only hurting me. I have Lupus, Addison's Disease, Hypothyroidism, I have had 7 back surgeries due to the lupus, I have progressive degenerative disc disease, and my pitutitary gland has completely shut down. So needless to say I am on approximately $1500's worth of medicine a month. Before your plan I only had to meet a $300 a month spend-down which my doctor appointments, therapy, etc...helped me make my spend down so it wasn't actually out of pocket.
Then the federal government took over. Now I am in worse shape. First, I only had to pay $0 for generic and $3 to $5 for brand names until I reached a certain point. Now I pay $2 for all generic and $5 to ? for brand names. When I reach another point I will have to pay %5 of what ever that prescription is. That may not sound like much to you but when a lot of my medicines are $200 and $300's a month you figure it out.
Besides that there are several of my medications they have even completely denied that the state Medicaid approved. Yes, they state that certain prescriptions can be added to my plan but can you imagine how long that takes. I have 3 prescriptions that have been since April waiting for approval now. One of them is a medication for seizures and another is for a pain patch for my back.
One last important issue here is the fact that I can actually go into withdrawal if I don't receive my medication like I am suppose to. I was actually hospitalized a couple of years ago because I didn't meet my spend-down and went into withdrawal. It wasn't a very pleasant feeling. I actually thought I was going crazy.
Mr. President, I was a very useful individual. I was a Medical Assistant with an Associate Degree. I actually took one semester from a hospital bed in my living room at home after one of my back surgeries. They were VCR classes and I had healed enough at the end of the semester to go in and take my finals. I miss working with patients but the way the system is I can't even work part-time without losing my benefits. I have so much to offer but too much to lose. I just wanted to let you know that your new system is not working it is hurting the ones that are really ill.
Jeffersonville , IN
How can this happen when last fall you said “The days of low-income seniors having to make painful sacrifices to pay for their prescription drugs are now coming to an end.”? How come they haven’t come to an end for this person? Did you purposefully lie or were you unaware of the program’s benefit design? Did Sec. Leavitt not tell you what he told the Governors “I want to be very clear about this. Congress clearly intended for states to get significant savings as a result of the Medicare law.” Did Secretary Leavitt know Jeffersonville would be one of the people helping the State of Indiana save money?
In February you acknowledged the problem in a speech in Ohio “And you probably read about kind of the dual- eligible problem. I don't know if you've had that problem here in Ohio, Governor. We're dealing with it. Our job is to solve problems when they arise.”
So, how did you solve the dual eligible problem? Whatever you did, it has not made its way down to the person who wrote you? When you write this Jeffersonville back will you include your compassionate concern for dual eligibles? Is Jeffersonville just another one of those “Sad Sacks” taking a pessimistic view on life? Will you encourage that person to cheer up and look at the bright side of your administration’s accomplishments?
In March you reiterated no one should be in Jeffersonville’s shoes, “They're on a fixed income. They've got now a prescription drug benefit. They don't have to make the awful choice between food, electricity and prescription drugs.”
The cold hard facts include your administration purposefully designing and implementing a program that hurts poor elderly and disabled people previously covered by Medicare and Medicaid. You left it up to the states to decide whether they will use any of their $1 billion to $8 billion in savings over 5 years to help out Jeffersonville. Will you include that in your reply letter? I already know the answer as the White House does not reply, except in the rarest of instances. This is my 1,122 letter to you and I have received 4 replies. I wish Jeffersonville better luck as their issue involves life and death.