Seniors struggling with soaring health care and prescription drug costs deserve re-assurance that the White House is actually on their side. The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare urges that President Trump use his State of the Union speech to do just that. In a letter to the White House on behalf of the National Committee’s millions of members and supporters, CEO Max Richtman implored President Trump to reaffirm his campaign promises to defend Medicare — and to bring down prescription drug prices — during his annual address to Congress.
“The President didn’t even mention Medicare during his first two State of the Union addresses, despite his previous pledges to protect Medicare from cuts and to take on Big Pharma to lower prescription drug prices,” says Richtman. “Meanwhile, his administration has proposed to slash Medicare by $500 billion over ten years while failing to give the program the power to negotiate prescription drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, which could save beneficiaries and the federal government billions of dollars.”
During the first two years of the Trump presidency, seniors have endured constant threats by Republicans in Congress to cut and privatize Medicare – and continued to watch prescription drug prices skyrocket. According to a Congressional report released in 2018, prices for the most commonly prescribed brand-name drugs for seniors have risen nearly ten times more than the annual inflation rate over the past five years.
Seniors living on fixed incomes cannot afford to continue down this path. Half of all Medicare beneficiaries in 2016 had annual incomes below $26,200. Yet Medicare households spent over two times more than the average American household on out-of-pocket health care costs.
“Older Americans should not have to choose between paying for health care, food or utilities. This argues for expanding Medicare to fill in coverage gaps, not for cutting benefits,” says Richtman. “Surely the President will not fail for a third time to defend seniors’ health security when he addresses the nation in the State of the Union.”
The National Committee, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization acts in the interests of its membership through advocacy, education, services, grassroots efforts and the leadership of the Board of Directors and professional staff. The work of the National Committee is directed toward developing better-informed citizens and voters.
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