Jackie Corr: 'Mrs. O'Hara's windfall'
May 11, 2005
By Jackie Corr
And on Saturday, the day before Mother's Day.
That's when the White House announced that as Medicare begins covering prescription drugs next January, older and poorer Americans will receive a windfall. But there's a catch.
The White House also says these older and poorer Americans will spend less of their own money on prescription drugs so they will have more cash to spend on food. But there's another catch.
Take the case of Mrs. Molly O'Hara.
Right here in Butte, Montana, there is an elderly lady whom I will call Molly O'Hara. Now Mrs. O'Hara is a long time widower.
Her husband Mike died about fifty years ago of miners consumption which means Mike's death meant no benefits for Molly O'Hara. So she struggles on with her $675 a month Social Security check. In addition she is on Medicare and receives $44 a month in food stamps.
In January 2006, Mrs.O'Hara will be 91 years old. But, according to the White House, her medical costs will be going down, overall from $150 a month to $107. This is due to the $43 dollars she will be saving on prescription drugs.
And here's the catch.
The White House then says, come January, Mrs.O'Hara's monthly food stamp bonanza of $44 will be cut by $27 dollars. She will now receive only $17 in monthly food stamps. Fair is only fair says the White House..
And there's another catch.
According to the White House, the $43 dollar prescription drug benefit means Mrs. O'Hara will come out ahead for Molly O'Hara will have more cash then she did before the new Medicare program..
Why? Well it's simple.
Mrs.O'Hara will be a whopping $14 ahead next January. Still she could be doing better.
Not mentioned by the White House are the estimated billions the pharmaceutical companies will reap in a decade due to the non-competitive bidding on drug prices mandated in the new Medicare law..
So you take Mrs. O'Hara's $43 savings from prescription drug costs and subtract the $27 in food stamps that she no longer receives. That adds up to Mrs. O'Hara's $14 windfall.
And, as far as Mrs. O'Hara's $27 cut in food stamps goes, we all to pay our fair share, as the White House likes to point out.
And the White House says those high income tax bracket cuts, the cuts the big drug company CEO's relish, will cost $1 trillion or so over the next decade. And a trillion is a lot of money
And then there's running the $100 billion or so per year war machine which costs a lot of money too.. .
So why shouldn't Mrs. O'Hara do her part and kick in $27?
Which means Molly must share the anticipated $43 windfall she will save buying prescription drugs next January by giving up $27 in food stamps.
And, as they say in the White House, it's only fair.
(If you go to the site link, there are many responses from others who have read this editorial.)