Gray Panthers of San Francisco
March, 2006 Newsletter

Demonstration at the
Centers for Medicare Services (CMS)


Members of CARA (California Association of Retired Americans), SAN (Senior Action Network) and SF Gray Panthers met with the SF director of CMS to criticize the implementation of Medicare Part D. One of the claims made by CMS is “millions of people with Medicare” are getting their prescription drugs “at a significant savings since the drug coverage began on Jan. 1st.” Is it true? Are you saving money with Part D?

If you belong to Kaiser, individual premiums went up more that $30 per month, whether you use drugs or not. Co-pays doubled. This enrollment is obligatory or you lose all Kaiser coverage, not just drugs.

Private plans and other HMOs charge an equivalent monthly premium. SAN did a comparison survey that showed most prescription drugs were cheaper at Costco or from Canada than the prices drug companies were charging Medicare. If you are one of the unfortunates who hit the “donut hole” where Medicare doesn’t pay for drugs and you choose not to buy your drugs from your plan but from Canada, you can’t use those costs to get out of the “hole.”

A dozen Gray Panthers showed up to protest the Medicare Modernization Act, all of it, not just Part D, and passed out leaflets calling for repeal of MMA and for universal, single payer national health insurance.

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