t is outrageous that more than 50 years after Medicare was enacted seniors still do not receive basic hearing, vision and dental coverage. Many seniors are unable to read a newspaper because they can’t afford eyeglasses, they can’t talk with their grandchildren because they can’t afford hearing aids and they have trouble eating because they can’t afford dentures.
It is also time to acknowledge that we must lower Medicare eligibility for the millions of older workers who are in desperate need of healthcare. This pivotal moment in American history is the time for a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress to do what the American people want. We must expand Medicare benefits and lower the age of Medicare eligibility. Using our majority to take this step is not only the right thing to do for the American people – it’s good politics as well.
These steps might seem expensive, and they are. But here is something amazing. We can pay for the entire cost of these additions to Medicare by allowing the program to negotiate the cost of prescription drugs.
As incredible as it sounds the Medicare program is not allowed by law to negotiate with drug companies over the cost of medications seniors purchase. The lobbying power of the big drug companies means they are ripping off the government and charging the American people any price they want. Not only that. Because of the power of the pharmaceutical industry all Americans are forced to pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. This absurdity must end.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction