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Letter to the editor

To the editor:

How many of you reading this rely on prescription meds to get through your day? How many of these prescriptions are meant to keep you from dying? Not just from being uncomfortable from fever, but from actually dying?

I ask this because I was at the doctor's office with my husband, who has COPD. He needs a certain brand of COPD drug that, for now because of his age, work status and health benefits from working, is covered by his insurance almost 100 percent. However (and this is the important part) his doctor told him that had he been 12 years older, when he would be eligible for Medicare, this drug is NOT covered by Medicare. Now, he needs this particular brand of drug because it has ingredients that others similar to it do not. I became concerned, then angry. He has worked all of his life, paying into a system that was originally set up to help seniors when they become too old to work, yet the very system that is "supposed to" save him may very well be the same arrangement that could be the demise of him as well when he is of age to receive it!

This drug costs hundreds of dollars per month. Seniors who live on social security must now make that crucial decision: "Do I eat - or take my meds?" "Do I pay the utilities - or take my meds?" "Do I pay the rent, or be homeless so that I can take my meds?" "And if I cannot afford my medication, am I ready to die from this illness/disease/malady?" Unlike what you hear on the commercials, pharmaceutical companies will NOT help you pay for your meds when you are on Medicare simply because Medicare will not permit it! Why doesn't Medicare want help paying for drugs for seniors?

Do you see my point?

Is this a systematic erasure of elderly folks ... to have them choose, making a choice that may very well shorten their lives? Population control, 2018 style?

Are you angry yet? Are you reading this with a, "Well, we'll wait and see what happens when Ma, Grandma, or myself actually cross that bridge?" If so, you will be in for a shock. How about doing something now, as I am? How about letting your legislators know how angry you are? These are the very same legislators who were bought and paid for by Big Pharmaceutical companies in the last major election.

But despite all the the drama and talk of standing up to the pharmaceutical industry, these companies continue to be big spenders, donating $951,018 to presidential candidates in the 2016 presidential election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics and the Federal Election Commission."

"Other legislation has a more direct bearing on the industry and it is an active political player. Pharmaceutical companies and their trade groups gave more than $2 million to current members of the Legislature in 2013-2014, about 2 percent of the total raised, records show. Nine of the top 20 recipients are either legislative leaders or serve on either the Assembly or Senate health committees. Receiving more than $95,000, the top recipient of industry campaign cash is Sen. Richard Pan, a Sacramento Democrat and doctor who is carrying the vaccine bill.

"In addition the industry donated more than $500,000 to outside campaign spending groups that helped elect some current members last year. Leading pharmaceutical companies also spent nearly $3 million more during the 2013-2014 legislative session lobbying the Legislature, the governor, the state pharmacists' board and other agencies, according to state filings."

These two web links are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of doing simple research on this topic online. I urge you to do more. Your end of life may very well depend on how much information you have at your disposal now to make informed decisions when the need arises.

I am 55 years old. This will be my fate in just ten short years. A lot can happen in ten years. A lot of bad but maybe also, a lot of good. I plan to do what I can to make my voice heard.

Will you?

Diane Baum,

Morris, MN