McKinley needs to do homework on Medicare

On Tuesday, May 17, I attended Congressman David McKinley’s town hall meeting in Weirton. What has stuck with me for over a week, was not the opinions McKinley expressed, but the issue that he did not know enough about to express an opinion. At the end of the presentation, a written question was read and it concerned Medicare’s “Donut Hole.” I was absolutely stunned by the congressman’s admission that he only knew that the “Donut Hole” was part of Medicare and had to do with prescription drugs, but that was all he knew.

I recently called McKinley’s office and explained the details of the “Donut Hole;” that it comes into effect after a senior on Medicare has had $2,700 in prescription drug expenses. From then, until the senior has $6,154 in prescription drug expenses, they are responsible for 100 percent of their prescription drug expenses. I also pointed out that the “Donut Hole” is when many seniors must decide whether they should cut their pills in half, reduce how much food they eat, or even turn off their heat in the winter. I had one senior tell me she thought maybe it meant she should just die. I was told that McKinley’s staff researched the “Donut Hole” and now he knows about it.

McKinley started his town hall meeting by stating that West Virginia is the oldest state in the nation and Hancock County is the oldest county in W.Va. This obviously means that Medicare issues are important to residents here, as well as all of W.Va. How could our U.S. congressman not know about one of the most important elements of Medicare? How could our U.S. congressman, who mentioned he is 64, obviously have not had any conversations with anyone who is being impacted by Medicare’s “Donut Hole?” How could our U.S. congressman have voted on Medicare issues if he does not know about one of the most important elements of Medicare? How could our U.S. congressman criticize last year’s health reform, which has a plan to cut and eventually eliminate the “Donut Hole,” when he didn’t even know about the “Donut Hole?”

When I called Congressman McKinley’s office, I offered to assemble a group of Medicare recipients who could educate him about the realities of Medicare sometime when he is in Wheeling. Congressman McKinley, will you take me up on my offer?

Sue Thorn