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LET'S SET UP A FUND TO PAY FOR SELF-INJECTED DRUGS

Much has been written that is very shortsighted regarding a co-pay increase for self-administered injectable drugs. Yes, these medications should be covered. But by whom?

If we try to mandate that HMOs must bear the burden of the cost, premium rates will beincreased and HMOs could be driven out of the marketplace. This, in essence, not only would take medication away from individuals, but medical care as well.

Forcing HMOs to pay no matter the costtotally ignores the responsibility of the drug manufacturers. Of course it was costly to research these drugs, and the manufacturers need to recoup expenses. But why don't we demand that drug companies supply needed medication at a more reasonable cost?

We should create an independent fund that would pay for medications needed for catastrophic illnesses, such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, etc. This could be accomplished by setting up a fund that private industry, state governments and the federal government would contribute to. This money would be held in trust and the interest earned on the fund would cover expenses.

We need to look at the whole picture. As a person with MS using self-injected drugs, I have a unique vantage point. I cannot afford to spend hundreds of dollars a month for this medication, but I also need access to my doctor. If mandated funding by HMOs should become a reality, we might lose more than anyone bargained for.

Vicky Manning Orchard Park

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