Medicare Not Covering All 4 Injectable Drugs For Multiple Sclerosis!! sign now

We the undersigned are writing about, the Senate version of the Medicare Rx Drug Act (S. 1). We would like to take this opportunity to tell you about some concerns we have.

To start I read an article recently, in a magazine called Multiple Sclerosis Outlook, Vol. 2 No. 3 Winter 2003, called "Why Doesn't Medicare Cover All MS Drugs?" that inspired me to stand up for not only myself, but all the other MS sufferers, and raise awareness about living with MS.

As you may or may not know, Medicare does not cover all 4 injectable medications that help fight MS and keep it at bay, so that MS sufferers can try to live a normal, productive and happy life. Medicare only covers one of the 4 medications. The only medication covered is Avonex, making the patients have to go to their doctor's office for each shot, when it can be done at home. The other three medications are Betaseron, Copaxone, and Rebif. Unfortunately, Avonex doesn't work for everyone. It's unfortunately not a "one size fits all" disease and medication. Information about all four of these medications can be found at the following website.

Medicare's argument for not providing coverage for all four medications, is that the legislation would have to be changed. So, I say, change it. What ever it takes, it needs to be changed.
According to our National Multiple Sclerosis Society website, I Quote to you:

"Last May, 230 determined Society volunteers visited Congressional offices in Washington, pressing the arguments in person. By early summer, the Senate version of the Medicare Rx Drug Act (S. 1) included language that provides transitional coverage during 2004 - 2005 for all four of these MS therapies administered in any setting.

The coverage called for in the Senate bill would expire when an overall Medicare Rx benefit (which will be called Medicare Part D) is implemented - expected in 2006. If enacted, this would mean that during 2004 - 2005, people with MS who are insured by Medicare would pay about 20\% of the cost for their disease-modifying drug, after a $100 annual deductible. In 2006, coverage would shift to Medicare Part D, and people with MS would have the same coverage for their prescription drugs that Congress enacts for everyone else. "

This folks is what we are fighting for. Bottom line, this is what it really comes down to. Some MS sufferers, who are already on Medicare, are being forced to care for themselves without proper medications and are being forced to use medications that may not be working for their particular situation. Those of us fortunate enough not to be on Medicare yet, will one day be on Medicare. Unless we change the way Medicare takes care of patients and those of us in need of certain medications, some of us may be forced to change from a medication that works for us, to one that does NOT work for us, or worse, be forced to not take medication at all. The truth is, Medicare will not cover the medications some of us currently take. Again, Avonex is not a "one size fits all" medication.

Insurance companies should not be allowed to play doctor and dictate what medications will be taken and will not be taken. MS sufferers entrust their doctors to know what is best and what medications are and aren't working. For someone living with MS, sometimes our doctors are our only hope, and that is being taken away with legislations that restrict the medications available. It is VERY important for MS sufferers and their doctors to work out a plan of action to combat the disease, one cannot afford to deviate away from that plan, that would only exacerbate the disease. Medicare is taking away the options for MS patients. Medicare is making it more difficult for doctors and patients to work out a plan of action. There is no working on a plan of action, if there simply aren't any choices. Medicare is making it very hard for doctors to properly care for MS patients. It's wonderful for those who take Avonex and have a positive response to it, for the rest of us, it isn't such a wonderful thing.

I am asking for your support of The National Multiple Sclerosis Society and our fight with Medicare. ALL 4 of the MS medications need to be insured by Medicare. We are talking about a great deal of money, the average cost for each medication is between $10,000-14,000 per year without insurance. Medical insurance is expensive, even more expensive when you have a disease of any kind. It's even more expensive when you don't have medical coverage at all or can't get the proper medications because the medication isn't covered by insurance. Would you go to your doctor and accept a prescription for a medication you KNEW would not help you with your disease, or worse, might even make the disease itself worse? This is exactly what Medicare is expecting MS sufferers to do, to accept the only medication they offer for MS, even if it doesn't work for them.

Below is another link to help you better understand Multiple Sclerosis. How Serious Is MS??? Go to this link to find out

I would greatly appreciate your support in this matter and so will millions of others living with Multiple Sclerosis.

****NOTE: While S.1 has now been formed, and it does look Very promising, we must remember that this is OUR FIGHT. A fight in which we can't back down from. We must stand up, we must be heard, and most of all WE MUST Make as many people aware as possible. Ladies and Gentlemen, We must not back down!****

Thank you in advance for your support,

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Opal HoffmanBy:
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