Gray Panthers of San Francisco
April, 2006 Newsletter

Part D Means Disaster


Neither rain nor hail deterred our enthusiastic demo in front of the Moscone Center during the Pharmacists Convention. Gray Panthers were joined by rally co-sponsors CARA, SAN, Students for Social Security, and a group of high school students who came from Vallejo to participate as part of their civics class assignment.

Some of the attendees, lured from the conference by our chants, heard tragic stories resulting from the dysfunction of Part D. These tragedies include the decreasing of medications formerly covered, often by half; increasing drug prices, and substitute drugs causing dangerous side effects. Once again, seniors, the disabled and low-income families are forced to choose between necessities: medications, or adequate food, rent or mortgage payments.

Speakers: Fred Mayer, Pharmacists Planning Services; Don Bechler, SF Health Care for All; Margot Smith, Berkeley Gray Panthers and Michael Lyon, SF Gray Panthers assured the pharmacists that our demonstration was not against them, but against the inadequacies of the entire MMA. In fact, as noted by speakers, pharmacists have repeatedly stepped forward to actually cover the costs of drugs for their customers. Forty-three percent of smaller pharmacies surveyed say the lack of reimbursement for covering costs of Part D will likely cause them to sell their businesses. An outrageous situation, especially juxtaposed with the billions of dollars MMA funnels into drug makers and HMOs, and the 28% tax credit given to corporations to “defray costs” of moving employees to Part D.

Michael Lyon explained the drastic situation of the one million Californians who are Medi-Medis, people receiving both Medicare and Medi-Cal. April 1, Medi-Medis will have to get approval for their non-formulary drugs or seek alternatives—another crisis for the most vulnerable.

As we have declared since MMA and Part D was forced on us by Frist and his PHARMA thugs, this is a disaster! Repeal it! Take Part D and shove it! Take Medicare Modernization and shove it!

See the Gray Panthers leaflet for this event.

(back to April 2006 Newsletter front page)