TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – The Florida Alliance for Retired Americans celebrated the 56th birthday of Medicare and Medicaid on Friday; the group is calling on Congress to lower prescription drug prices.
FLARA held a press conference at Tallahassee’s City Hall, saying the sky-high prices have gone on for too long.
The group says some seniors can’t afford their prescriptions, and people are at the point of cutting each pill in half or skipping days. They argue now is the time to do something to change the situation.
One woman at the press conference spoke about her husband’s struggle with Leukemia. She said he was a navy veteran who could not afford the prescribed drug, and he instead opted to take an experimental, cheaper drug.
He passed away a year later; the woman said she feels that he could still be alive if he had had his original prescription.
Another woman was recently diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD.
Teresa Wells says she was excited to be on Medicare when she turned 65 this past December. However, she found that the drug she needs is $400 a month.
“COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in this country. Overall survival is five years. And it’s because only 30% of patients can afford that drug,” said “We die. This is, it’s just unconscionable.”
The group is hoping for legislation that would not only create lower prices, but also the ability for the federal government to negotiate drug prices in Medicare.
They shared a scorecard for Florida legislators looking at their voting records during the press conference.
Representative Al Lawson received a 100% score and the 2021 Retiree Hero Award.
Senator Marco Rubio had a 2020 score of 25% and a lifetime voting score of 10% under the group’s calculations. Senator Rick Scott had a 25% 2020 score and a 28% lifetime score.
The categories for the Senators’ grading include paid family and medical leave, health tax repeal, eliminating the ALS waiting period, and the Barrett and Walker confirmations.
The categories for House votes included age discrimination rights, protecting benefits, emergency housing, postal funding, and Medicaid block grants.