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Opinion: Seniors deserve a happy and healthy retirement

Here in Missouri, nearly 1.2 million senior citizens rely on Medicare to provide them with the coverage needed to access vital medications that allow them to live happy and healthily lives.

My mom’s a senior, and I’ve too experienced the many challenges that come with aging. Whether it’s arthritis or high blood pressure, each ailment requires specific medications to manage symptoms and stay active.

For many, it’s easy to overlook the important role Medicare coverage plays for Americans, but for families like mine that rely on it, we never overlook the crucial role the program plays in our daily lives

Rich Kroeter, retired CPA and Missouri citizen from Florissant. (Courtest of Rich Kroeter)

That is why I am so concerned that President Biden continues to urge Congress to pass legislation called “Medicare negotiation”, which aims to lower patient costs by allowing the government to set the prices of prescription medications in Medicare.

While on the surface this policy effort sounds good, it only takes a little bit of research to understand the grave impacts Medicare negotiation could have on access to new medicines and treatments if implemented.

Make no mistake about it, if Congress mandates that the federal government set the prices of prescription medications in Medicare, we will see funding for new research and development plummet – which will ultimately result in fewer treatments and cures coming to market.

Not only could this be detrimental for seniors and patients of all ages, but this level of government overreach could cause the U.S. to relinquish its position as the global leader in new drug discovery as we continue to fight off a global pandemic.

The free-market healthcare system the United States has created has been the driving factor in our production of new treatments and cures. Our innovative spirit has given us access to nearly 90% of all medications currently available globally.

For everyday Americans and senior citizens like my mom, this means that if a medication has been created to treat a disease or sickness we are suffering from, we need to be confident that we will have the capabilities to access it.

I am all for lowering out-of-pocket costs patients face, but I am not in favor of also jeopardizing medical research and innovation in the name of cost-cutting.

At the end of the day, Americans deserve to have a healthcare system that works for them, not against them. As a Missourian, I’m proud to know that we have allies in Washington like Senator Hawley and Representative Hartzler, and others who are fighting to protect our access to medications and assure senior citizens, like my mom, can enjoy a happy and healthy retirement.

I ask our delegation to work with others in Congress and vote against Medicare negotiation proposals. Our well-being depends on it.

Rich Kroeter is a proud Missourian and former certified public accountant who is now retired.