Opinion: Seniors deserve a happy and healthy retirement

Editor’s Note: This is an opinion editorial staff sent to the Missouri Times on behalf of a concerned Missouri citizen. The letter was sent by the LS2 Group, a non-partisan public relations group headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa.

Here in Missouri, nearly 1.2 million seniors rely on Medicare to give them the coverage they need to access essential medicines that keep them happy and healthy.

My mother is a senior and I too have experienced the many challenges that aging brings. Whether it’s arthritis or high blood pressure, each disease requires specific medications to manage symptoms and stay active.

It’s easy for many to overlook the important role Medicare coverage plays for Americans, but for families like mine who depend on it, we never overlook the critical role the program plays in our daily lives

Rich Kroeter, retired CPA and Missouri citizen of Florissant. (Dish by Rich Kroeter)

This is why I am so concerned that President Biden continues to urge Congress to pass legislation called the “Medicare Negotiation,” which aims to reduce patient costs by allowing the government to increase prescription drug prices into Medicare to set.

While these policy efforts sound good on the surface, it only takes a little research to understand the serious impact Medicare negotiations could have on access to new drugs and treatments if implemented.

Make no mistake, when Congress orders the federal government to set the prices for prescription drugs in Medicare, we’re going to see funding for new research and development decrease — which will ultimately result in fewer treatments and cures hitting the market come.

Not only could this be detrimental to seniors and patients of all ages, but this level of government overreach could see the US relinquish its position as the world leader in new drug discovery as we continue to battle a global pandemic.

The free-market healthcare system that the United States created has been the driving factor in our production of new treatments and cures. Our innovative spirit has given us access to almost 90% of all medicines currently available worldwide.

For ordinary Americans and seniors like my mother, this means that when a drug has been developed to treat a disease or condition we suffer from, we have to trust that we have the means to access it.

I’m very much in favor of reducing costs for patients, but I am not in favor of compromising medical research and innovation in the name of reducing costs.

At the end of the day, Americans deserve a healthcare system that works for them, not against them. As a Missourian, I’m proud to know that in Washington we have allies like Senator Hawley and Rep. Hartzler and others who are fighting to protect our access to medicines and enable seniors like my mother to have happy and healthy retirements.

I urge our delegation to work with others in Congress and vote against Medicare negotiation proposals. Our well-being depends on it.

Rich Kroeter is a proud Missourian and former chartered accountant who is now retired.

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