Drug law angers groups

About 40 constituents discussed other issues with representatives of Sen. Kit Bond.
Wednesday, February 18, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:24 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

About 40 people intended to send a message to Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., during a constituent gathering at Columbia’s Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

About 20 members of Columbia’s Grass Roots Organizing, an activist group of low-income residents, and a group called the Concerned Citizens of Missouri, expressed their displeasure with the new Medicare prescription drug law that goes into effect next month.

GRO member Phyllis Ward, 62, said she’s concerned about the benefits she anticipates losing under the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003.

“It’s very important that the bill be looked at again,” she said.

Ward questioned the bill’s provisions for those with “dual eligibility,” or those who access health care services through Medicare and Medicaid assistance.

Under the new law, Medicare will assume prescription drug costs for those with dual eligibility, with seniors paying relatively low co-pay amounts for specified generic and brand-name drugs.

The problem for Ward, who said she is on eight medications, is if her doctor should prescribe one that isn’t in the law’s formulary plan, she’d be responsible for 100 percent of the cost. Right now, she doesn’t know which of her critical medications will make the cut or what she’ll be able to afford.

Ward and other GRO members presented Bond representative Dean Coats with a 1,300-signature petition asking for the bill’s recall and a videotape about their cause.

“We are actual people living in America,” Ward said, “not a bunch of papers.”

Other participants talked about the possibility of adding a U.S. constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Dean Anderson, 44, said he wants to know where Bond stands specifically on the issue, which he vehemently opposes.

“The U.S. Constitution was formed to protect minorities from the majority,” Anderson said, adding the government should focus time on pervasive social problems, such as poverty.

Anderson and about nine others held signs outside the chamber offices shortly before the meeting. Representatives from Bond’s Missouri offices sponsor meetings, known as “listening posts,” throughout the state every third Tuesday of the month for residents to ask questions about the federal bureaucracy.

Bond, who has been wrangling with Congress over financing the new transportation bill, was not able to attend Tuesday’s meeting.

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