The Congressional Budget Debate and Its Potential Impact on American Seniors
This is the time of year in which the President, the U.S. Senate and House engage in a debate over the federal budget for the coming fiscal year. This is not so much a discussion about dollar figures as it is about the priorities and values we embrace as a nation.
As this debate unfolds, one of those priorities that must be protected is the health of our nation’s seniors.
This week, the U.S. Senate is considering its fiscal year 2016 budget and there are rumblings that it may include amendments that target the Medicare Part D prescription drug program. Specifically, there are some Senators and interest groups that would like to enable federal government interference in the private sector drug pricing negotiations that have, since Part D’s inception, kept beneficiary costs affordable and saved money for American taxpayers. Bringing the federal bureaucracy into a process where it is not needed – and which the law that created the Part D program specifically forbids – could raise prescription drug costs and reduce seniors’ access to the medications they need.
To monitor this possible legislation and other issues affecting seniors’ access to prescription drugs, I refer you to the Seniors Speak Out Facebook page, which serves as an online resource hub for developing information on Medicare Part D. On this site, individuals can also send a letter directly to their U.S. Senators to encourage that affordable Medicare drug coverage should be protected, not threatened.
The federal budget process is supposed to reaffirm the policies and programs that reflect what this nation holds dear. Undermining Medicare prescription drug coverage would do exactly the opposite.