Letter to the Editor

Laws affect senior health care

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

To the editor:

I am not a lawyer but a self-advocate who has tried to raise questions about the constitutional legality of Missouri's Medicaid law (Senate Bill 539) and the new Medicare law Part D. What is at stake here is the civil rights of the elderly and disabled.

"Discrimination in programs that receive federal financial assistance ... ." If this statement is illegal (Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504), how can the new Medicare law not allow the federal government to negotiate for lower prices on drugs, when the VA does it for our veterans? Missouri's Medicaid law violated the fiber of the federal Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. Now the new federal Medicare law Part D seems to violate federal law.

Elected officials should be ashamed to treat the older citizens of our society in this matter. Using the wording of Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a longstanding body of research demonstrates that when out-of-pocket expense is increased significantly for low-income people, their use of essential health-care service declines, and their health status worsens.

My wife and I have been hurt financially by these new laws but not like most elderly and disabled. Many will view the above statement as a death sentence as they get older. Which will they choose: food or health care? Would you want to make that choice?

Again, I am flabbergasted that law makers want to treat our citizens this way when illegal immigrates and criminals have their civil rights intact.

DALE KIRKBRIDGE, Dexter, Mo.