My name is Ruth Rinehart and I am a resident of Tampa, Florida. I am a nurse case manager and just like some of my patients, I rely on life-saving medication for my survival.
I have a primary immune deficiency and have required an antibody replacement every three weeks for the last 26 years. The cost of my infusions varies between $3,000 and $4,000 each time. As a result of this, I have to make sure I am covered under the most expensive Medicare plan to make sure the infusions are covered at the highest rate. The cost of the insurance plan is equivalent to the cost of our mortgage.
A few years ago, we fell victim to the decline of the economy, the housing boom, and my husband’s job loss. All of that coupled with my high drug costs caused us to lose our home and file for bankruptcy.
This has had a devastating impact on our lives. Instead of having retirement savings, which we were on track to have before my illness, we are now living month to month on Social Security. I had to go back to work as a nurse at 67 years old in order to make ends meet.
If drug costs were more affordable, it would take such a financial burden off my family. My husband is now also ill, and unfortunately, his drugs are not covered by insurance and so he cannot take what is being recommended for him. All we want is access to our medication without having to bankrupt our family.
That being said, as a patient who is reliant on the services of Medicare and who would benefit from more affordable drug prices, I am strongly in favor of the proposal to allow Medicare to negotiate prices with drug manufacturers. This measure would change the lives of countless patients. Drug prices are out of control, and Medicare negotiation would help to remedy the plight we face.