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
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
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. Lets make this the year we finally
reform health care.