Congressman Charles Taylor's first television ad of the campaign season, brought to you as part of a $10 million multi-district campaign from the United States Chamber of Commerce, touts Taylor's record on Medicare. It's disturbing to think that Charles Taylor's benefactors believe they can fool western North Carolina's seniors into ignoring their own experiences with Medicare Part D.
Taylor's Medicare record has consequences for our senior and disabled Americans:
- confusion about which prescriptions would be covered by the enormous number of plans from which an enrollee could choose. Variations in implementation from state to state exacerbated the confusion.
- a person's prescribed drug may not be included in the formula and an equivalent drug may also not be available.
- "created an environment where you can't practice pharmacy. We spend so much time being insurance representatives that it's taking away from patient counseling."
- "Sixty-one percent of pharmacists said customers’ “formularies” had changed after they signed up. In two-thirds of cases, the changes were not beneficial to consumers."
- "Callers to Humana, one of the largest Medicare carriers, often had to wait 30 minutes to reach a customer service representative last week. Federal standards say that 80 percent of calls must be answered in 30 seconds."
- "the 2003 Medicare law prohibits the federal government from negotiating drug prices under the drug benefit."
And then, of course, there's the donut hole. The donut hole, which Charles Taylor's lobbyists didn't mention in their advertisement, takes a moment to grasp:
"Under a standard plan this year, Medicare handles 75 percent of drug costs after a deductible until the bill reaches $2,250. Coverage does not kick in again until those costs total $5,100.
7 million American seniors and disabled people will one day arrive at the pharmacy to find they can't get their drugs anymore unless they can come up with thousands of dollars to jump the donut hole. This is the point at which statements like "I have to choose between medicine and food" or "I can pay the rent or I can have my medicine" move from rhetoric to reality. It's only now that many of North Carolina's Medicare recipients are hitting the donut hole, and according to many reports, they never saw it coming.
42 million Americans receive benefits under Medicare, and a sixth of them were factored into an equation supported by Congressman Charles Taylor and his Washington lobbyists. This equation deliberately installed a system that will adversely affect our mothers and fathers, our neighbors and friends.
Charles Taylor wants us to believe that the program is a big hit, and that folks are going to be just fine. He wants us to overlook the fact that he voted to give a blank check to the pharmaceutical industry. He wants us to overlook the mentally ill who may go without their medicines. He wants us to overlook the thousands of families that he deliberately left in the donut hole.
Heath Shuler is running against Congressman Taylor, and he supports health care for all Americans. Your willingness to do a little something extra can help put Shuler into Congress and put America a step closer to giving all Americans health security. If you have a story about Medicare Part D, it's time to tell it. Please write your local newspapers. Call your local radio stations. Let Charles Taylor know that you can't be fooled by his commercial that should be titled, "You can believe me, or you can believe your lying eyes."