Have you used your Medicare Part D plan this year? I have, I changed pharmacies and refilled two prescriptions that I take regularly. It took only a minute or two and I was on my way–just another errand in the course of a busy day.
But as one who worked for many, many years to advocate for prescription drug coverage in Medicare, I cannot help but reflect on how much Part D has changed the lives of older Americans and individuals with disabilities–providing peace of mind, enabling them to remain active, and, most importantly, restoring and maintaining their health! It’s almost inconceivable to think that just a decade ago, Medicare did not provide beneficiaries with coverage for prescription drugs. What a different world that was!
We have made much progress, but we also must safeguard it. This year is going to be a difficult one for Congress and, indeed, the entire government. There are lots of issues, lots of pressure to act, and enormous demands on our national budget, and, of course, lots of politics. As we have seen over the years, this kind of situation can lead to misguided actions that negatively impact Medicare.
From beneficiary satisfaction ratings nearly 90% or higher, to the steady premium costs, to the broad choice among plan options, Medicare Part D has been and remains a program that works — truly works– for almost 40 million seniors and disabled individuals who depend upon it. Let’s be on guard and be ready to defend our benefit and redirect lawmakers and regulators to the many programs that don’t work and desperately need their attention. Part D should be off the table!