Skip to main content

Retirees Laud House Move to Close Medicare Donut Hole

Alliance for Retired Americans Member Speaks at House Press Event


Speaking today at the U.S. Capitol, Maryland retiree Phil Feaster today praised House Democrats for their plan to improve the lives of millions of retirees by closing the so-called donut hole in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.

Feaster, a member of the Alliance for Retired Americans, spoke at a press conference to unveil a sweeping health care reform bill introduced today by the Democratic leaders in the U.S. House. Among its key provisions is closing the donut hole, which forces many retirees to pay
both their monthly Medicare premiums and full price for their prescriptions.

The donut hole costs Feaster $700 per month. Along with 3.4 million other retirees, I am in what is known as the Medicare donut hole. More than one out of four seniors falls into the donut hole, so this is no fluke thing that is unique to just me. Let me tell you, the donut hole
is no treat for seniors, he said.

My generation likes to tell it like it is: the donut hole is a rip-off. You pay money, but get nothing in return. Can you imagine going to a restaurant where all they give you is an empty plate - but yet they still force you to pay for a full meal? Of course not.

Below is Mr. Feasters full statement:

My name is Phil Feaster, and I am a retired truck driver from Fort Washington, Maryland and a member of the Alliance for Retired Americans.

Like many seniors, I struggle to stay healthy. I must take eight daily prescriptions. I have high blood pressure, diabetes and a sinus condition.

Along with 3.4 million other retirees, I am in what is known as the Medicare donut hole. More than one out of four seniors falls into the donut hole, so this is no fluke thing that is unique to just me. Let me tell you, the donut hole is no treat for seniors.

My generation likes to tell it like it is: the donut hole is a rip-off. You pay money, but get nothing in return. Can you imagine going to a restaurant where all they give you is an empty plate - but yet they still force you to pay for a full meal? Of course not.

For the first six months of the year, I pay $85 in monthly premiums, and in exchange I receive my Part D benefits for my eight daily medicines. But then I hit the donut hole. For the remaining six months of the year, I must pay both my $85 monthly premiums and full price for
my medicines. These drugs cost me $700 per month when I am forced into the donut hole. And again, this is $700 per month on top of the $85 monthly premiums I must pay. For half of the year, I am forced to pay these premiums while receiving absolutely nothing in return.

Why do I keep paying these premiums? Under the Medicare Part D rules, if I stop paying my premiums, I am out of the program for next year. The donut hole sure seems like a sweetheart deal for the big drug and insurance companies.

When I look around at my friends and neighbors in Prince Georges County, Maryland, I see so many of them struggling. Health care keeps costing more, while Medicare and private insurance keep covering less.

My mother was one of those people. She kept having to cut all the wrong corners with her health. She had a stroke and was paralyzed for the last four years of her life because she had to stretch her medicines far too thin just to make ends meet. This is America, the greatest country ever. Why do we still allow this to happen?

I am hopeful that this will finally be the year we fix our health care mess. We have been talking about this for decades. None of us are getting any younger. We need help, and we need help now.

I am grateful that this legislation will start closing the Part D donut hole and finally finish it off. This bill will millions of people like me as soon as it becomes law. Let's make this the year we finally reform health care.

Thank you.

# # #

The Alliance for Retired Americans is a national organization that advocates for the rights and well being of over 3.5 million retirees and their families.

Popular posts from this blog

Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR)

Trump To Cut Social Security

Trump’s Promise Not to Cut Social Security has been Broken by Robert Roach, Jr. President Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget is a non-starter. He has betrayed America’s seniors. In fact, $2 trillion in deficit reduction turns out to be just a math error. The budget cuts $72 billion over ten years from disability programs, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Trump promised repeatedly to protect – not cut – Social Security. Yet his first budget does just that, harming millions of disabled Americans.  The Trump budget also slashes $1.4 trillion from Medicaid over 10 years. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), total Medicaid spending was $368 billion in 2016. Almost two-thirds of that was for seniors and people with disabilities, who rely on Medicaid for health care and long-term care. This cut is drastic and dangerous by any measurement. This budget also decimates the Community Development Block Grant, which pro…

The Ship of Fear

My Destroyer, the U.S.S. Walker, was tied up in Pearl Harbor.

The Newspaper headlines for several days along with lengthy articles told of a merchant ship, "the Pomona" that was tied up in Honolulu waiting for crew to take it to the far east. The Captain had been murdered while at sea and the crew was afraid that the murderer was still aboard. The ship finally got underway again and my memory is that it had rudder problems and had to return to port. Then, after getting underway again it had a fire on board and had to return again.

While on liberty one day in Honolulu, I stopped in at a saloon on my way back to my ship. There, I met a merchant sailor who happened to be a sailor aboard the Pomona. He offered to take me back to the ship and let me come aboard her. We did and headed for the bow of the ship where there was a lot of noise. There sitting on the deck were a number of sailors, mostly drunken, talking about their predicament.

This occurred sometime between 1961 and…