Through the doughnut hole

I recently received a form letter by e-mail from Congressman Heath Shuler regarding HR 1646 – the Hearing Aid Assistance Tax Credit Act. I sent an e-mail response, and the answer I got was typical of our government: unable to deliver to shuler@mail.house.gov.

This is what I wanted the congressman to know: HR 1646, the $500 tax credit for hearing aids, is just a very small gesture in the right direction. It is the political game of give and take. Unfortunately for the American people, "take" has always predominated.

I am personally experiencing the horrors of our medical system's government affiliation with corporate medical-insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies.

I'm the one who has to see the fear on my lady Jackie's face each time she refills her pain medication – fear that the pharmacist will say, "You're in the doughnut hole" (meaning no coverage), and, "That will be $2,500." My thoughts are the same as our forefathers' when they rebelled against tyrants. I assure you, today's corrupt system isn't what they had in mind.

HR 1646 is a joke. We need to get corporations out of medicine. We need fair-market drug prices, not extreme profit exploitation at the cost of people in pain. We need socialized medical care now.

Thank God there is a murmuring across the land, and hopefully it will grow – as it did 200 years ago.

The day after I started my e-mail, our fears were met. Jackie now has to pay $4,000 out of pocket (the doughnut hole). She doesn't have the money, so she will have to do without much of her medication. She will stay in constant pain. Her position is life-threatening. She has applied for Medicaid and is being given the runaround. Her doctor called the caseworker and a left a message stating the urgent need for her medications. We later found that the caseworker isn't permitted to talk to the doctor.

— Bob Collins
Mountain Home

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