Medicare Part D
Rita Littlefield opined in a Friday commentary that Texans cannot afford changes to Medicare Part D because beneficiaries will have access to fewer drugs and research and development will decline.
First, she cited the percentage of the top 200 drugs available to Medicare beneficiaries per the VA system (162) versus the most popular Medicare Part D plans (190).
Economists estimate that Medicare patients would save $500 each year if Part D could negotiate prices. Wouldn’t you want to save $500 in exchange for access to 28 fewer drugs?
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Second, the pharmaceutical industry is not a market confined to the United States. Identical drugs are sold globally for vastly different prices.
Nexium costs $215 for a monthly prescription here; it is $23 in the Netherlands. Allowing Medicare Part D to negotiate the price of Nexium would not significantly affect research and development but instead would allow U.S. prices to fall while international prices would rise to compensate.
If you believe the United States should be subsidizing healthcare for everyone in Europe, follow Littlefield’s advice. If, however, you believe that Texans can benefit from $16 billion in annual savings, tell your members of Congress to let Medicare Part D negotiate.
Cedric Dark, M.D.,
and assistant professor,
Baylor College of Medicine, Houston
Fearing the GOP
Stephen Kelly’s Dec. 8 letter (“Biggest fear”) had it right.
My biggest fear is also the Republican Party. The terrorists can’t destroy the country, but the Republicans can.
They want to shut down everything that made this country great.
Look at their candidates. They all want to isolate us from the rest of the world and start another war. Reminds me of George W. Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s weapons of mass destruction.
Jack Brocious, Grapevine
It’s not acceptable that America is allowing itself to be frightened into contradicting fundamental values.
We are and always have been a melting pot of diversity, and refusing Syrian refugees isn’t just morally wrong but anti-American.
I’ve never been more disappointed in my state than I was when I read about the extreme opposition to accepting refugees.
Torry Mathis, Roanoke
Senate Republicans have blocked efforts to pass legislation that would have prevented suspected terrorists, felons and the mentally ill from buying guns in the U.S.
Are our leadership and the National Rifle Association now supporting extremist violence in the U.S. in the interest of selling more guns?
This is a callous disregard for the lives of our citizens and encouragement of further violence in our country.
Peter G. Gaupp, Arlington