Rising cost of prescriptions
As pharmaceutical companies continue to generate outrageous profits by increasing the cost of even generic medications, many patients have had no choice but to abandon treatment. Pharmaceutical companies should be required to negotiate fair and affordable prices with the Medicare and the US Government.
Out of pocket costs
Patients shouldn’t have to choose between paying for food and paying for health care. “Out of pocket” expenses are fees that you pay for your medical care that aren’t reimbursed by insurance, including: deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments for covered services plus all costs for services that aren’t covered. Will the new national healthcare plan allow uncontrolled out of pocket expenses?
Compassionate pain care policies
Thanks to the opiate crisis, more and more patients are being denied pain medication even though they have never abused medication. Even cancer patients are finding it harder to find physicians who will write a prescription for an opiate medication. There has to be a better way to support pain patients who need real pain care.
Affordable monthly premiums
Whether you are covered by an employer plan, private insurance or the ACA act, there is no denying that premiums have risen dramatically for some patients. Tell your congressman how much you’re paying and the strain it places on your budget and your home. Ask if he or she will require affordable plans. How about 5% of our gross monthly income?
#2 – Show Up
Form letters now rarely work and telephone calls aren’t that much better. Any chance that you have to speak directly with your elected representative should be considered.
Your Congressmen are elected every two years thus their primary concern is getting re-elected. You have to show them that their position on health care will directly determine if you will or won’t vote for them.
What’s the best way to do it? Show up at their next appearance or Town Hall meeting in your district, look them in the eye and tell them what you are concerned about. Call their office and find out when their next town hall or public session is. Tell your friends when the next meeting is and organize a group of people to go with you. Sit throughout the room rather than in a group so that they cannot ignore your group. Do not bring in signs that reveal your position or platform. Wait patiently for the opportunity to ask a question. Don’t be shy.
#3 – Let Your Voice Be Heard
Prepare a list of questions and hand them out to your friends, such as:
“My prescription for Elmiron, the only FDA approved oral medication for IC, now costs (fill in your amount) a month. I can’t pay for this anymore. My annual monthly budget for prescriptions is just (insert your budget limit). Will you commit to requiring pharmaceutical companies to negotiate affordable pricing?”
“I and many district families in (insert your town) rely on Medicare. I don’t think we should be rationing health care for seniors, and the plan to privatize Medicare will create serious financial hardship for seniors who can’t afford it. You haven’t gone on the record opposing this. Will you commit here and now to vote no on any bill that cuts Medicare coverage?”
“I struggle with the most severe form of interstitial cystitis. I have active Hunner’s lesions covering my bladder and struggle with often agonizing pain that, in research studies, has been compared to cancer level pain. The American Urology Association Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of IC/BPS clearly state that pain care should be provided yet I cannot find a doctor who is willing to write a prescription. Will you commit to supporting programs that provide pain care services to patients in need?”
“Prior to the Affordable Care Act, many insurance companies placed lifetime limits on health care coverage. This means that after a certain, arbitrary dollar figure is reached, my health care benefits could be denied. Will you com- mit to the removal of any lifetime limits on health care coverage. Will you promise to fight for us?”
If you can’t attend a town hall meeting, contact the local office of your representative and ask to speak with their health care representative. Talk with them about your concerns and ask what position that represen- tative is taking on health care reform.
Better yet, go down to their offices and ask direct questions. Be very very clear that their answers will influence whether they earn your vote during the next round of elec- tions.
#4 – Be Persistent
My 94 year old father has spent the last 25 years attending City Council meetings as a Council Watcher. He’s amazing. He reads everything, studies the agenda and then when the opportunity strikes, speaks out boldly about what he believes in. Sometimes he’s applaud- ed and other times he’s booed… but, most of all, he’s respected because he’s persistent.
When the new national healthcare plan is proposed, read it thoroughly. Don’t rely on social networking or TV to educate yourself about it. Ask your political representatives for a copy of the proposal. Read the actual document. Let them know what you like and don’t like. Tell them how this will impact your daily life. Be as vocal as you can be. Every voice, especially persistent yet respectful voices, earn their respect.