Six years ago, while on vacation, I experienced a temporary bout of heart-weakening A-fib as a result of Lyme disease caused by a tick bite. The physician I visited prescribed Eliquis. This expensive drug did the trick for my heart and additional less expensive drugs took care of the Lyme disease.
I was very lucky to receive such good medical care, both from my Minnesota vacation doctor and from my conscientious and attentive local physician, Richard Crouch, after I returned home.
Now my good luck with Eliquis can be shared with other seniors on Medicare as a result of an important provision of the Inflation Reduction Act.
The Biden administration announced in late August a list of well-known drugs whose prices will be lowered by the Inflation Reduction Act, a measure passed by a Democrat-only vote in Congress. Among the drugs whose prices will be lowered were Eliquis, Xaretto, Jardiance, Januvia, Embrel, and Stelara. It is likely that many seniors in my home town of Murray depend upon one or more of these drugs to stay alive and healthy.
A recent White House press release noted that nine million seniors pay up to $6,497 out of pocket each year for these drugs. A Congressional Budget Office statement estimated that this IRA drug cost reduction program will save taxpayers $160 billion, and this program “hopes to save 25 billion on drug prices by 2031” (Reuters, 8-29-31).
This information makes me wonder why not a single Republican was willing to vote for the IRA. Surely, giving Medicare the right to negotiate lower drug prices is one of the best and most appropriate ways to regulate our capitalist system, and hardly the socialism that GOP lawmakers love to hate. In addition, polling of voters on this issue shows that a majority of people, including Republican voters, support this effort to promote our personal financial and medical health.
One has to be a bit puzzled and worried by any politician who would say that the price of life-saving insulin medication should not be lowered to $35 per month. Diabetics have many things to worry about. Exorbitant medicine costs shouldn’t be one of them.
Fortunately, we all have opportunities to express our support for such pro-life measures as this drug price reduction plan, first in Kentucky where Andy Beshear is running for a second term as governor, and then on the national level in 2024 when Joe Biden seeks to return to the White House.
It is time for Democrats to tell our Republican friends that they can win votes by supporting genuinely good, widely popular legislation. Any policy of voting against laws that help ordinary people is both a moral and political failure.
But we Democrats and our Independent voting friends can only influence Republicans, it would seem, by voting against them. If we do this, it will be a way of telling Republicans that we did so because of their unwise behavior in opposing good laws just because Democrats thought of them first.
And aren’t you proud of me for getting through those last two paragraphs without once using the overused word “bipartisan”?
Several weeks ago, one of my medical doctors (us old people all have more than one) suggested that I try a new medicine. When I went to Walgreens to pick up my new prescription, I was shocked and even amused to discover that a 30-day supply of these pills cost $1,700.00. This nice clerk then softened this news by telling me that my insurance would cover $1,100.00 of this cost, leaving me to pay a mere $600.00.
I smiled and told the clerk that perhaps if the drug company spent less money on very expensive television advertisements, it might be able to low their drug prices, even on new drugs.
The nice lady smiled back at me, and I quietly left the store without my new pills but with a small, less expensive, bottle of over-the-counter pain killers.
Give life a chance – Vote for Democrats!