By Kelsey Givens
Several seniors took to a podium outside Pahrump Medical Supply last Friday morning to express their support for Congresswoman Shelley Berkley as well as discuss their concerns over Sen. Dean Heller’s plan for Medicare.
Four seniors, Jerry A. Schmitt, Matthew G. Swiftt, Eugene M. Frank and JoAnn Cristal, stood in the parking lot at the corner of Pahrump Valley and Calvada Boulevards at 11 a.m. to speak about their discontent with what they’re calling the “Heller-Ryan-Romney” plan for Medicare.
The seniors spoke of how it concerned them that Heller reportedly said he was proud to vote twice for “Heller-Romney-Ryan,” which in essence would turn Medicare over to private insurance companies, raising the price of Medicare for seniors.
The group also noted their concern with the fact Heller reportedly voted against giving the Department of Health and Human Services the ability to negotiate lower prescription drug prices for seniors.
“Like so many seniors, I need to be able to afford the prescription drugs that I take on a daily basis. This can often be hard as prescription drug costs continue to increase, but I make do and am able to sleep well at night knowing my prescription drugs will be there for me tomorrow. However, this could all change this November, if Washington republicans like Sen. Dean Heller, Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney take over control of Washington and impose their anti-senior, anti-Medicare agenda on seniors like me,” Schmitt began.
“Thankfully, Shelly Berkley has her own record of working to lower prescription drug costs because she understands that standing up for seniors must be a priority. Shelly voted to close the prescription doughnut hole, and lower the cost for prescription drugs. Thousands of Nevada seniors support allowing the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower prescription drug costs,” he said.
Fellow senior resident Frank echoed Schmitt’s sentiments, describing what could happen to him and other seniors financially, should Heller by elected over Berkley.
“As a senior citizen who relies on prescription drugs, I know how hard it can be to afford these drugs when costs seem to be going up and up and up. Why is this issue so important to Nevada seniors? Because our current senator, Dean Heller, supports an agenda that would hit Nevada seniors right in the gut and their limited pocket book,” he said.
“To start, Sen. Heller supports the plan authored by Paul Ryan and supported by Mitt Romney that would turn Medicare over to profit-hungry, private insurance companies and reopen the prescription drug doughnut hole. This plan would not only raise healthcare premiums for seniors, it would also force many to pay more for their prescription drugs. This plan, while being good for private insurance companies and big Wall Street corporations, is simply unacceptable for seniors like me who depend on Medicare’s guaranteed benefits and can’t afford to pay more for prescription drugs. While Dean Heller would ask seniors to pay more for prescription drugs, Shelly Berkley is fighting to protect Medicare and keep prescription drug costs down,” he said.
Cristal ended the speeches with a call to neighbors and friends to start getting the word out about what’s at stake in this election.
“I think we need to be having this conversation with our neighbors and our friends, which I did this morning with my neighbor across the street for about two hours,” she said. “It was interesting, because he is 72-years-old and he knows absolutely nothing about what is going on. He does not even take a Pahrump paper. He is a very smart man, there’s no lack of intelligence, but it’s a lack of curiosity about the political system. This, I think, is what we’re facing in Pahrump more than almost any other problem is an indifference and lack of individual responsibility. So I’m suggesting all of us talk and talk and talk and talk,” she said.