D.C.)--Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) joined with several hundred organizations representing veterans, seniors, and low-income
beneficiaries to express the urgent need for Congress to reject the proposal to make harmful changes to the government's prescription
drug program, Medicare Part D.
In a joint letter to Congress, the organizations cite that Medicare Part D is actually
performing above expectation, and since its implementation, has cost taxpayers 41 percent less than originally projected.
In addition, premiums for beneficiaries are 46 percent less than projected and are expected to decline slightly in 2012, with
the average monthly premium remaining around $30. This change would have a negative impact on veterans using both the Tricare
for Life program as well as Medicare Part D.
"Clearly, savings need to be achieved within our healthcare system in
order to sustain these vital programs for future generations of Americans, but it is our duty to ensure these changes do not
harm the very people they are meant to protect," said John Rowan, VVA National President. "Instead of targeting a program
that is actually saving money while providing affordable prescription drug options to seniors, the attention of Congress could
be better spent identifying those programs wasting taxpayer's money."
If the rebate proposal is implemented, the groups
cite that, by some estimates, the premium increase for seniors could rise by 20 to 40 percent. In an attempt to limit premium
increases, the groups make the point that prescription drug plans may opt to adjust their formularies, giving seniors and
disabled Americans fewer preferred options, resulting in higher out-of-pocket costs--costs which many cannot afford and will
cause some to forgo treatment.
"Higher costs will cause a breakdown in treatment plan adherence, as seniors opt out
of Part D coverage or fail to purchase the drugs they need to maintain their health. This could lead to higher costs in Medicare
for hospitalizations and nursing home care. The availability of drug coverage is achieving savings of up to $13 billion a
year by keeping more seniors healthier and out of institutional settings, according to recent estimates by Harvard researchers.
The rebate plan jeopardizes these savings and the lives they represent," the groups noted.
Said Rowan, "America's veterans
and seniors have served their country and have contributed their entire working lives to building the wealth of this great
nation. Instead of forcing beneficiaries to once again reach into their own pockets, now is the time to preserve the quality
of care that supports the health of our veterans, our seniors, and those with disabilities, while providing a sustainable
blueprint for the long-term health of our nation. Frankly, our veterans have sacrificed enough." For a full copy of the letter
and list of supporting organizations, click here:http://f.cl.ly/items/3y3U1Y3x321B0F2m3X3f/Letter.pdf