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Front Page » July 11, 2006 » Opinion » Letter to the Editor: Medicare prescription drugs -- ever...
Published 3,035 days ago

Letter to the Editor: Medicare prescription drugs -- everybody wins


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By PAUL G. JAEHNERT
Vadnais Heights, Minn.

Editor,

Medicare prescription drugs -- everybody wins

Now that Congress has passed prescription drug coverage under Medicare, think of all the benefits that senior citizens will come to enjoy. Qualified Medicare enrollees now are given 'discount cards' by pharmaceutical companies that allow for discounts off of an as-yet-undetermined double-digit annual increase in prices.

It's too bad that non-seniors will continue to pay usurious prices for prescription drugs, but then we can't expect Congress to work all of its miracles at once, can we? At least we can now put a stop to the unlawful re-importation of those dangerous Canadian drugs. Never mind that there has not been a single documented case of death or injury due to drug re-importation. Congress has opted to err on the side of safety. This safety net will assure that U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturers will prosper and we can continue to enjoy those thousands upon thousands of wonderful television and print media ads extolling the virtues of these gratuitous 'angels of mercy'.

Here's the beauty of it all. There is explicit language in the Act that prohibits Medicare from negotiating prices with drug manufacturers. By allowing drug manufacturers to gouge Medicare according to whatever the market will bear, pharmaceutical stocks will soar in value.

And there's an added bonus. Insurance companies and advertising agencies will be taking an even larger slice of the prescription drug benefit. This Thanksgiving 'turkey' that Congress and the AARP has served up will redound to their benefit -- big time. But there is more good news. After the pharmaceutical, insurance and advertising interests have gobbled up most of the turkey, there might still be enough of the carcass left for the drug consumer to pick on.

Those of us who have millions of dollars in pharmaceutical, insurance and advertising company stocks soon will realize unimaginable gains. CEOs of major pharmaceutical companies will no longer have to be content to receive an average $37 million in annual compensation. With additional growth incentives, such as more tax relief, pharmaceutical company executives will have the financial freedom to further expand their enterprises abroad -- not to mention that their companies won't have to pay taxes to the U.S. government. Don't worry about loss of tax revenue. Those that do pay taxes will pick up the slack; or we can push the inevitable day of reckoning ahead to those who will have to deal with today's record-deficit spending tomorrow.

With privatization of Medicare prescription drug benefits now a fait accompli, insurance company involvement has added to the administrative costs of providing benefits. The administrative cost of providing medical benefits under Medicare formerly had been about two percent. According to some experts, involving private insurance carriers could keep administrative costs down to about nine percent.

And let's not forget the hidden costs of obtaining this prescription drug legislation. Pharmaceutical companies have donated millions of dollars to senators and representatives for their election campaigns. Can you just imagine how much President Bush's campaign had received from a grateful pharmaceutical industry for his support?

Although there are far too many to list here, be sure to remember all those staunch defenders of the free enterprise system when you vote in the next elections.


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July 11, 2006
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