June 26, 2019

Retiree Pam Parker Makes the Case for ACA Prescription Drug Protections

Retiree and Alliance member Pam Parker made the following remarks at a press conference held by Senators Stabenow, Shaheen, and Wyden on June 26, 2019:

“Good morning. Thank you, Senator Stabenow, Senator Shaheen and Senator Wyden for drawing attention to a life and death matter that the Supreme Court will be considering in July.

My name is Pam Parker, and I am a member of the Alliance for Retired Americans. I am 57 years old and live in Silver Spring, Maryland.

I had a kidney transplant this past Mother’s Day. I am grateful to be able to speak with you just 5 weeks after major surgery. My health is so much better but my worries are not over.

For many years I worked as an electrician, helping to wire the Holocaust Museum and the Pentagon until my health slowed me down. I began working as a researcher, but in 2014 I could no longer work at all due to my failing kidneys. I had to go on disability.

I have had diabetes for more than 20 years. I also have high blood pressure and my doctor says that is what caused my kidneys to fail. I underwent dialysis for several years until my transplant last month.

I am one of the lucky ones – I have a new kidney and a great prognosis. I have medical and prescription coverage under Medicare before turning 65 due to my disability. I also have supplemental insurance coverage, meaning that my out-of-pocket costs are relatively low right now.

The retail price of my medicines is more than $6,000 per month. That includes $3,500 a month for the anti-rejection transplant medicines and $1,400 per month for insulin. By the way, I remember when insulin cost about $25 a month. 

I am terrified of the high drug prices I will face if the Affordable Care Act is struck down in the courts and the Part D “doughnut hole” is reopened. I truly do not know what I will do if that happens.

And I know I am not the only one. Eliminating the doughnut hole is important to all retirees who are more likely to have multiple health conditions and take more medications. We worked hard all our lives and earned our Medicare.

Please do not take this earned benefit from me and my fellow Americans.

Thank you for listening.”

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