Parental health care should not be sacrificed in the name of government savings

Growing up, my parents did everything in their power to give me the best life possible. They immigrated to the United States from the Philippines. They challenged each other at every opportunity. And they worked incredibly hard day in and day out, all to make sure I had access to every opportunity and benefit possible to create a prosperous future for me and my family.

And for that, I am eternally grateful. Thanks to their hard work, I am a proud college graduate, business owner, and husband. I know that nothing in my life would be possible without them.

As such, now it’s my turn to take care of them. Although both my parents are blessed with relatively good health, they still see the normal illnesses and ailments that come with aging. Luckily, both are Medicare beneficiaries and their coverage helps them get the medications they need, keeping them in the best health possible. Without this coverage, affording the drugs that work for them would be a big challenge, however.

Unfortunately, Congress is currently considering legislation that would allow politicians to set prescription drug prices for Medicare patients. Although pricing policies may seem like a good idea, they are not as altruistic or innocuous as they seem.

As part of Medicare negotiations, politicians and bureaucrats in Washington would be allowed to play doctor, choosing which drugs are available to Medicare patients. And ultimately, that could mean patient access to life-saving prescriptions could plummet. Some prescriptions may become harder to obtain or more expensive, other drugs may only be available in certain forms and strengths, and some drugs may no longer be available at all.

To make matters worse, this legislation is not designed to save patients money or meet their needs. It is a revenue scheme for the federal government. By capping the amount they pay pharmaceutical companies for drugs, the government could save money, essentially leaving the elderly to bear the brunt of budget cuts.

It wouldn’t just affect my parents, though. For more than 1.2 million Missourians who depend on health insurance, government pricing policies could mean reduced choice and access to the medicines they need to feel better.

As a son and caregiver, I can’t let this happen. My parents and elders in Missouri worked hard for their health insurance. They deserve more than negotiated care. They deserve choice, options and access to their prescriptions. Tell the politicians to make cuts elsewhere and not touch my parents’ care.

A note to the editor: Ed Mayuga owns a business in St. Louis

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