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Part D serves big pharma, not consumers

June 1, 2006
by root
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Dear Mr. Edwards,

Regarding your editorial on Medicare Part D in the April issue (“A Healthy Dose of Optimism,” p. 6), your optimism is out of place—as well as your facts.

In general, people with mental illness and other disabilities often already had better access to medication, either because they could afford it or because they could access Medicaid. Now, big pharma has made drugs more expensive and more complicated to access. Many Part D “sign-ups” have been automatic/forced transfers of dually eligible beneficiaries. Many states have had to enact emergency supplemental funding to cover the federal foul-ups. These foul-ups have been caused from the complications of a bill designed more to please drug and insurance companies rather than consumers. As usual, there is no guarantee that the federal government will reimburse the states for their supplements.

The only good thing about having this coverage (and the other option was not no coverage) is that, perhaps, we can develop the political will to make it right for the consumers—not the industry.

Stephen Vernon, LMFT, Albany, California

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