How can older Americans on fixed incomes afford the medicine they need to live healthy lives?
Pennsylvania senators on the Aging Committee want to know why drug prices continue to rise, and what the government needs to do to ensure older Americans are not bankrupted by their prescriptions.
One Pennsylvania senior is spending $1,500 per month on prescription medications.
“The costs of prescription drugs are financially crippling Americans,” said Barbara Cisek of Rural Ridge, Penn.
“I have a lot of things that insurance has stopped covering,” said Cisek. “I take a brand name Nexium, I’ve been on everything there is for my stomach. My copay for 3 months is $90. That’s one prescription.”
Like many Americans, her insurance doesn’t cover enough of the rising costs of prescriptions.
Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine wants relief for older Americans.
“Some are tapping into their retirement funds or refinancing their homes or working multiple jobs or living in endless uncertainty or anxiety,” said Senator Collins.
The hardships Americans are facing to pay for prescription drugs has urged lawmakers to take bipartisan action to lower costs.
Democrat Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania introduced two bills that would add transparency and affordability.
“30 million people have incomes of $26,000 or less so they are heavily depended on Medicare, but often they’re the ones most adversely impacted by the costs of prescription drugs,” said Senator Casey.
He wants prescription costs made public and help for those who qualify for assistance.
“People have a sense of urgency about this issue that I have never seen and people in both parties need to recognize that,” said Senator Casey.
He hopes the Trump Administration will help the effort to make prescriptions more affordable.