Today, Mark Kelly continued his “Fighting for Arizona Seniors” virtual tour with a roundtable discussion with Central Arizona seniors from Phoenix, Mesa, Gold Canyon, Tempe, and Peoria. Kelly was joined by Jon Bauman, President of Social Security Works, and spoke with seniors about the threats to Social Security and Medicare and the essential role that the programs have played in their lives.
They also discussed the impact of high prescription drug costs, the importance of prescription drug delivery through USPS, and solutions to ensure affordable and accessible health care for Arizona seniors, including allowing Medicare to negotiate down prescription drug prices.
Watch full video HERE.
Here are some highlights:
On threats to Social Security and Medicare
MARK KELLY [38:23]: Washington is threatening to break its promise to Arizona seniors — we can’t allow that to happen. So if I have the honor of being elected, I’m not going to let it happen. I’m going to fight to protect and defend Social Security and Medicare from these cuts.
JON BAUMAN [11:43]: There is no fun about what is going on with Social Security and Medicare right now. In fact, Social Security is under the biggest threat that it has been in our lifetimes.
On the impact Social Security and Medicare has on Arizona seniors
ROBERTO REVELES, GOLD CANYON [17:02]: The cost of the surgery I underwent was over a quarter of a million dollars, $257,000. Thankfully, Medicare was there for me. […] Without Medicare, I would have been bankrupt. Most seniors are facing that same challenge and if you take away Medicare, you are taking away our ability to continue providing for ourselves.
ROMAN ULMAN, MESA [28:21]: Both my wife and I are cancer survivors. [She] had her operation before we went on Medicare, and the doctor told her that she had to have annual mammograms. The insurance company insisted that we pay for that because it’s preventative medicine. […] I feel sorry for the seniors who have to contend with that kind of bureaucracy because they will wear you down. Once we went on Medicare it didn’t matter anymore — Medicare paid for those annual mammograms, Medicare paid for my cancer medications.
DOUG HART, TEMPE [21:31]: My father was in WWII, actually part of the original Army Ranger unit […] He died when I was eight years old. He had just gone to school on the G.I. Bill and got out of vet school when he died, so we had quite a few debts. But without Social Security survivors’ benefits, we would have starved. We would not have had a home, we would not have had food.
On the impact of rising prescription drug prices for seniors
DR. LAVERN TARKINGTON, PHOENIX [23:40]: My husband has an eye condition […] His medications now are so costly that we […] are now paying more than we anticipated. I actually see the Social Security aspect of it, helping us to be able to pay for the medications that he needs. I have also had to have surgery […] we were very fortunate in that most of that was covered by Medicare. Otherwise, we would have been placed in a very challenging situation.
FRAN KRUGEN, PEORIA [18:26]: My husband was disabled for over 15 years — he was diabetic, he had AFIB, he had congestive heart failure, neuropathy in his hands and his feet due to a broken neck. So he was on several medications. Sure, he had the supplemental insurance, but the copays for 10-12 different medications got costly. […] He was on insulin for his diabetes; he had to take two different kinds every month and that shot up to $900 a vial. And he was on disability, but his disability income didn’t even cover the two vials of insulin, let alone all the other drugs that he needed.
MARK KELLY [38:47]: I’m going to work to lower the cost of prescription drugs, including — this is incredibly important — allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower prices, it’s 30% of the pharmaceuticals that are sold in our country, are sold under Medicare. To me, it’s just fundamentally unfair that folks under Medicare have to pay more for prescription drugs.
Watch the full video HERE.