Over the weekend, I visited with my 85 year-old grandmother who lives in Wooster, OH, a small town outside of Akron-Canton. We talked about all manner of things, but one thing stuck out in my mind: how little she has to live on and how much she spends on life’s necessities on a small Social Security check.
I guess I shouldn’t be so shocked. After all, I have received countless emails and calls from people just like my grandma who cannot afford their medications. Many of them are splitting pills (something my grandmother does with one medication for her COPD) or skipping doses (something else she does for a high blood pressure medication she is on)… and they are doing so because they can’t afford the prescriptions and need to pay bills or buy groceries.
Why is no one listening to us?
And then there is this report out today from AARP on the ever-increasing prescription drug prices that America’s seniors are facing. Here are a couple of “highlights”:
“In 2013, the average cost of a drug was more than $11,000 per drug per year for widely used prescription drugs. This cost was:
Almost three-quarters of the average Social Security retirement benefit ($15,526),
Almost half of the median income for Medicare beneficiaries ($23,500), and
More than one-fifth of the median US household income ($52,250).”
This is nothing short of reprehensible. Millions of Americans rely solely on their Social Security check for their living expenses. And when Medicare or Medicaid don’t pick up the tab on expensive-but-necessary medications, the already small Social Security check just gets smaller. Couple that with the fact that America’s retirees/seniors haven’t received a cost-of-living adjustment in a while, it’s no surprise this same report asserts that “[i]f these trends continue, older Americans will be unable to afford the prescription drugs that they need, leading to poorer health outcomes and higher health care costs in the future.” Anyone think that this is a recipe for disaster? I sure do! We need our elected leaders to start paying attention… and they can start to help by allowing Americans to import their health maintenance drugs from licensed, legitimate, certified, and trusted Canadian pharmacies. If Congress and the President don’t take action soon, it will be too late for some – including my grandmother. I’ll ask it again… WHY IS NO ONE LISTENING TO US?!