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New Polling on Social Security, Medicare, and Prescription Drug Prices Voters overwhelmingly support expanding Social Security and Medicare, as well as taking federal action to lower drug prices. (Washington, DC) — This week, Social Security Works released new data from Public Policy Polling that shows registered voters are far more likely to back candidates who

support expanding Social Security, expanding Medicare, and taking federal action to lower prescription drug prices.  84% of voters are more likely to back candidates who support taking federal action to lower prescription drug prices, vs. 11% who ar e less likely  66% of voters are more likely to back candidates who

support expanding and increasing Social Security benefits, vs. 18% who ar e less likely  64% of voters are more likely to back candidates who support expanding Medicare, vs. 22% who are less likely “Anyone seeking elected office needs to fight for what the people want,” said Alex Lawson, Executive Director of Social

Security Works. “Americans will flock to candidates who run on expanding, not cutting, Social Security and Medicare. Families crushed by prescription drug prices will enthusiastically support political leaders who take on big pharma’s greed. ” The full poll results, including breakdowns across age, race, gender, and party affiliation, are available here.

Graphic: Opioid Painkiller Is Top Prescription In 11 States Americans fill about 4.5 billion prescriptions each year, at a cost of more than $323 billion. But what ar e we actually buying? In 11 states, the top prescriptions are opioid pain pills that are mixtures of acetaminophen and hydrocodone (brand names Vicodin and Norco), according to new data from GoodRx, an online prescription cost service. The company looked at the top 10 drugs prescribed in each state from March 2017 to February 2018 and then presented the data as a map. “There’s a geography to medications,” said Thomas Goetz, chief of research at GoodRx. “Our goal is to start bringing more transparency to drugs and drug pricing

information.” In more than half of states, Synthroid and its generics — to treat hypothyroidism — came in at No. 1. About 123 million prescriptions for the drug were written in 2016. And despite recent controversy questioning its effectiveness in the elderly, more than 15 percent of older adults are prescribed the drug. Though opioid prescriptions appear to be on the decline, Vicodin and Norco remain popular, especially in the South. In Tennessee, however, Suboxone, a medication used to

treat opioid addiction, is even more popular. Oddly, Adderall and generic versions of the medicine for attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder are the most prescribed drugs in South Carolina. Drugs to treat high blood pressure and cholesterol were also widely prescribed. Geoffrey Joyce, director of health policy at the Schaeffer Center at the University of Southern California, warns that the data represented in the map could give a misleading picture of prescription drug patterns. It

looks at individual drug products instead of larger classes of drugs used to treat a given medical issue. Overall, when similar types of drugs are grouped together the most common prescriptions are for drugs to treat high blood pressure, pain and mental health issues, according to recent data from IQVIA, a health data company. GoodRx offers discounts on prescription drugs and provides an online tool that allows consumers to compare what a drug will cost at local pharmacies. Its state-by-state data come from several sources, including pharmacies and insurers, and reflect millions of prescriptions.

Tax bill is attack on US retirees Americans, but especially senior citizens and retirees, are facing a massive attack on their living standards as result of the Republican bill cutting $1.5 trillion in taxes, overwhelmingly for billionaires and the top 1 percent. This terrible bill, passed without a single non-Republican vote, is based publicly on completely debunked “trickledown” economics. A classic “bait and switch,” it is being sold to the public as a “tax cut for all,” but according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, more than 80 percent of

the cuts are going to the wealthiest 1 percent of our nation, who least need it. This is creating a massive deficit, one that House Speaker Paul Ryan and other top Republicans are preparing to use as a political weapon to cut funding to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Already GOP leaders are talking of the “need to tackle entitlement reform.” This is outrageous. Working Americans

have paid into these programs their entire lives, helping create a level of retiree security in our nation that has not only provided a decent life for these retirees and their families but has buoyed the entire economy during economic downturns. Meanwhile, congressional Republicans passed a huge tax cut for the wealthy and are citing the $1.5 trillion hole this has created in our budget as a reason

they now need to cut these essential programs, to fill the hole they dug. This is economically dumb in the extreme and would push millions of retired Americans into poverty and would greatly harm the economic life of our communities. We cannot, economically or morally, afford these gifts to billionaires. I believe the moral deficit this attack on retirees would create is far more important. Our economy will be horribly harmed, but our nation’s soul may never recover.

Rhode Island Alliance for Retired Americans, Inc. • 94 Cleveland Street • North Providence, RI • 02904-3525 • 401-480-8381 •

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RI ARA March 25, 2018 E-Newsletter


RI ARA March 25, 2018 E-Newsletter

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