Tuesday, February 2, 2016


I am voting for Bernie Sanders in the upcoming election for numerous reasons, but I want to highlight some of my reasons here that I feel many people will be able to relate to in some way. Please listen to what I have to say, it will not take too long. It could change your life.

First of all, I believe everyone should be entitled to a free or low-cost education. Currently, education is not affordable, even when taking out federal loans. Let me explain something. Here is a graphic that will make sense to many or may make sense soon to those who have yet to graduate:

I had most of my undergraduate education paid for with grants due to academic achievements while in high school. Most of my loan balance is due to obtaining a doctorate degree (not in “grammar” so pardon any mistakes I may make). All of my loans were federal loans, except one small private loan which was paid off shortly after graduation. I have currently chosen to pay back the minimum on my federal student loans that are now consolidated. Why? Take a look at my payment and see how much is applied to the interest versus the principal. A whopping $30 is going towards my principal. I have been paying on my loans since 2012 and rather than my balance going down, it has actually increased by a couple thousand dollars even though I pay $605 every month, on time. I am expected to pay over $245,000 over the next 25-30 years if I stay on this payment path. I have an interest rate of 5.75% (I get a slight deduction for using auto-pay). When I called the federal lender to ask if I could apply extra payment to my principal (to lower the amount of interest being paid) about 18 months ago, I was told that was not allowed on federal loans. I have tried to refinance my loans through private lenders only to be turned down because of the high amount or because they do not offer a better interest rate. Thus, I am stuck, in a sense. I am stuck with a loan that is a burden but should not be one. I am lucky enough to be able to repay my loan, but do not feel it is fair to be stuck with a high interest rate that will not be lowered, to have the massive majority of my payment go towards interest and to not be allowed to apply any extra payment to the principal balance of my loan. It is a trap—by the federal government no less. I want to do the right thing but am blocked from doing so. Why does the government want to put me in a situation to fail at some point in time? I am not the only one.

I believe Bernie can make huge changes for people like me and all of the other students out there facing a loan crisis because they tried to make their lives better by going to school only to fall flat from the loan situation so many of us face today. He wants education to be free—an equal opportunity for all. He wants to end this system of failure that is put in place for so many students across the nation. If you want this changed for you, for your children and for future generations, please vote for Bernie Sanders!

I work in a field where I deal with Medicare and Medicaid daily. I know how I view Medicaid may be different than others since it is a state program, but it is likely similar in some states.

Let me start with Medicare first. To have prescription drug coverage, one needs a Medicare Part D (D for drug) plan. That comes with a cost, even if you have been paying into the “system” (taxes) for years. What I witness, usually at the beginning of the year, and somewhere in the middle of the year, is patients being forced to choose. They are forced to choose whether or not to eat tomorrow because their medication is so expensive. They are forced to choose not to pick up their medication because it is too expensive, thus they end up having to go to the hospital and rack up an even higher bill they cannot afford—yet they have insurance. Why so? This is because of deductibles. This is because of “donut holes”. Oh no, these are not the tasty donut holes you get from Krispy Kreme. What happens is people are met with high prices for their drugs because before they can get to their normal co-pays, they must first pay off a deductible which varies from person to person, plan to plan. Some deductibles are applied at once, even if $1000, while some deductibles are split up over time. What you mostly see are our senior citizens who are diabetics being forced to pay up to $400 for their insulin. Insurance may cover $20 of the $600 cost. Insulin is required for a diabetic to survive if their diabetes is Type I or a more serious type of Type II. There is no generic insulin available. You see these patients failing to follow their medication regiments because they simply cannot afford them, even when they have insurance, and even when they have paid their dues over the years working and paying into the system. Without proper blood sugar levels, lowered by insulin, these people end up becoming ill with infections which then leads to losing their limbs, sometimes their eyesight, their livelihood and ultimately their lives. There has to be an end to this! Bernie will end this because he wants deductibles as we know it to END. This would ultimately keep so many people out of the hospital and save millions, if not billions of dollars.

Many patients are also on Medicaid. Medicaid is meant to be a temporary solution for people who are not able to afford insurance either from a lack of a job or other reasons. However, at least in some states, it seems some people are able to abuse this system, while the system also abuses itself. In Texas, Medicaid requires many drugs to be dispensed as “Name Brand Only” when a cheaper, generic alternative exists. Examples include asthma medications (Pulmicort), ADHD medications (Focalin, Intuniv and sometimes Adderall), antibiotics (Suprax), cough syrups (Bromfed DM which has a generic available made by the parent company). Some Medicaid plans demand these medications be name brand yet some plans do not reimburse the pharmacies properly, causing stores like Walmart to stop accepting some Medicaid plans because of a loss of profits.

What I say next may be upsetting to some, but I find it concerning when I see people on Medicaid, which is meant to help those needing help getting on their feet, driving new vehicles. I do not mean a new small affordable car, but rather an expensive new Chevrolet Suburban, Mercedes or a Lexus. I do not know their income, I do not know their job status, but from the outside, it seems unfair that if one can afford such a vehicle that they are entitled to not only free medications, but free and in many instances name brand medications. Many working tax payers who are not covered with insurance, or have high deductibles, are paying for those name brand medications without even knowing it most times for someone who can afford a car that may cost as much as a small home in certain cities in the nation. Call me harsh, but I do not see this as being fair. I want equal and fair coverage for ALL. Bernie does, too.

Yet, there are still thousands, likely millions, of people falling through the cracks from Obamacare. They cannot afford “decent” insurance. What I mean by that is they can obtain insurance at a monthly premium of maybe $100 a month, only to face what I mentioned above happening to the Medicare patients—high deductibles which result in skipping or simply not taking necessary medications. It is cheaper for someone to buy a Walgreens Prescription Savings Club card ($20 a year for an individual or $35 a year for a family, but sadly those on Medicare are not eligible) than to pay for an insurance that is likely to reimburse even less than a discount card. Even free discount cards on the internet are sometime better than insurance.

As Bernie has said—medical care should not be a privilege, it should be a right for all, an equal right for all regardless of income, disability or age. Deductibles need to end. It should be a right to all as if it were a new amendment to the Constitution. Nothing is more frightening than seeing a family member who works hard and pays his or her taxes not be able to afford insurance or skip getting it because it is not worth getting due to deductibles. It is something to lose sleep over every single night worrying about an uninsured loved one. Bernie Sanders will change this if you will vote for him.

Please, I ask you to join me in voting for Bernie Sanders. He wants to help everyone. He wants to make so many things in life not only fair but better, for you and for me and for those before and after us.


1 comment:

  1. I also need to add that Medicare patients are not eligible to use coupons for medications. So, if they are given say, a Benicar coupon (a medication for high blood pressure), they are not allowed to use it. Medicare patients are also not allowed to purchase a Walgreens Prescription Savings Club card. I am not sure why that is the case, but likely has something to do with the government side of things.