What's wrong with the Medicare Prescription-Privatization
law. (See below.)
Gray Panthers, Senior Action Network, Greenlining Institute, Health Care
for All, California Alliance for Retired Americans, and other groups held
demonstrations in the Summer and Fall of 2003 against California Senator
Dianne Feinstein's support of the Medicare Prescription Privatization
Bill in Congress.
Getting ready. "I hope everybody shows up!"
Privatize Medicare? NO WAY!
Negotiatiating with the guards at Feinstein's office
building. The guard is saying "Yes, of course Senator Feinstein's
offices are a public place. Unfortunately, her offices are located in
a private building, so you cannot come in." (It turns out Sen Feinstein's
offices are in the McKessen Building, owned by one of the largest prescription
drug wholesalers. Hmm.)
This is the leaflet we gave out at the
What's Wrong with the Medicare Prescription/Privatization
THE PRESCRIPTION PART IS A SHAM:
· It allows drug companies'
prices and profits to remain at outrageous levels, refusing to use
the mass purchasing power of 40 million Medicare recipients to lower
drug costs. Even folks staying on original Medicare, are forced into
for-profit drug health plans.
· It covers less than 25%
of average prescription costs, and sicker patients must pay a much
higher fraction of their drug costs than healthy people. There are
no protections against premium or co-pay increases or against reductions
in benefits or medicines. Poor seniors and disabled who are also on
Medicaid would not qualify.
· 37% of people with better
drug coverage in their retirement plans are expected to loose coverage,
yet the proposed laws have no protection.
THESE BILLS ARE ABOUT PRIVATIZING MEDICARE:
· One bill allows for-profits
to insure healthy seniors, leaving sick and frail patients in Medicare,
which will charge 25% higher premiums, according to a suppressed government
document. Healthier seniors would be bribed with government rebates
to join cheaper stripped-down private health plans. Medicare would
not survive with fewer patients, higher costs, and less funding.
· Both bills let HMOs offer
increased benefits to lure patients away from Medicare, without much
risk of delivering the increased benefits, since HMOs choose healthy
· Both bills give HMOs over
$10 billion to develop new profitable Medicare programs, meaning lower
benefits. HMOs abandoned over a million on Medicare because they were
unsatisfied with their profits.
CUTTING SENIOR AND DISABLED HEALTH IS
THE REAL AGENDA:
· 80 million seniors will
reach retirement in next decade, with expensive diseases and longer
life expectancy; meanwhile we have:
· Rising health costs: HMOs
and managed care failed to contain costs.
· Recession: 2 million jobs
lost since 2000, highest long-term unemployment since '93.
· Deficits: $350 billion in
tax gifts to the rich and the worst budget deficits in 50 years.
· Military expense: $4 billion
per month just to occupy Iraq, what country is next?
· Converting Medicaid from
entitlement to block grant is part of the same agenda.
THE "BI-PARTISAN" PLAN PASSED
BY SENATE DEMOCRATS ISN'T MUCH BETTER THAN THE HOUSE VERSION:
· Both bills attempt to privatize
Medicare and prevent regulation of the drug industry.
· Senate Democrats must filibuster
whatever comes out of the Conference Committee. Let's see the 35+
Democrats signing the letter to Bush take some action!
WE NEED UNIFIED UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE,
ONE HEALTH PLAN, ONE LEVEL OF CARE, ONE FUNDING STREAM:
· If Democrats care about healthcare,
they need to support the Conyers Bill, HR676.
· Government's splitting us into
separate plans and separate benefit tiers result in lowering everyone's
care, starting with the poorest and most vulnerable. Everyone is at risk.