South Mississippi senior citizens hopeful new legislation will ease inflation squeeze

Soon, the U.S. government will be negotiating discounts from drug makers, like governments in many other high-income countries.
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 5:21 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - “I feel that the senior citizens need help,” said 70-year-old John Henry Burks, Jr. “They need a break. They’ve done all this time, paid all this money in.”

A breaking of the firewall between the pharmaceutical industry and the Medicare program. Soon, the U.S. government will be negotiating discounts from drug makers, like governments in many other high-income countries.

“I’m more than happy to see the price of all medications go down,” said 99-year-old Helen G. Calehuff. “Inflation is terrible. Medicine has been hit the hardest.”

Calehuff has been waiting for this breakthrough for years. She said even with a strong family support system, the inflation-squeezed season has still impacted her.

“Once we retire, our income is greatly reduced,” Calehuff added. “Believe me, we feel it. My son is extremely good to me. He will not let me pay board or anything to live with him, but I know his grocery bill has gone up.”

At Lyman Senior Center, many were calling it a win for the elderly. Some said the policy capping annual out-of-pocket costs at $2,000 will be life-changing.

“I’m old enough to remember when insulin was like $10 a bottle, and I heard it’s now hundreds of dollars a bottle,” said 72-year-old Marie Nance. “It is made the same way, so it’s not about manufacturing. It’s what they can get. It does boil down to money.”

The reform is a stunning defeat for the pharmaceutical industry after launching a seven-figure campaign last month to try to stop the effort.

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