Our non-native voters come from every state mostly adjacent states. They vacationed here before moving, enjoyed the cultural arts and the scenic beauty
and decided to retire or relocate to the Berkshires. I was here a month and knew I would never leave. Some of the reasons many move here they forget, politics being one. Muscle misery kicks in and they want our politics to mirror what they
left or the left ideology.
Forty three years ago it was a little different, I remember. Pittsfield was a modern up to date city bustling with industry and a population of close to fifty thousand. We had crime that came with the drug culture of the sixties but by today's standards it was minor. It was difficult to find parking during business hours as the commerce taking place was alive. Do you remember?
The following article is one man’s plight with Medicare of Massachusetts. Or the Medical Miracle of the United States now. To think, they copied us? We have fifty thousand undocumented Democrats in the state sucking our welfare system dry and the health care with it. The rest of the country will probably do that also it is difficult to get too much of a good thing. Unless we were directly involved in a situation or subscribed to the Boston Herald we would never know. This is a human interest story that could effect each and every one of us in time. With the political debates and all that is going on we hear very little about Medical care in Massachusetts. It will inspire us to look forward to the 2012 elections.
The following Herald Story by Margery Eagan is just such a story.
Co-pay hike a painful reality
Miracle drug monthly cost jumps from $42 to $600
By Margery Eagan
Thursday, November 3, 2011 -
Thursday, November 3, 2011 -
Ken Helgeson could be you.
The retired pressman from Millis worked for more than 50 years, sometimes two jobs, to take care of his daughter and his wife, Marion, a paraplegic as the result of polio.
“I never asked anybody for anything. I never took a free ride or money from the state. You took care of yourself. It’s the way we got brought up, and that’s what I’ve done,” Helgeson said yesterday, not bragging but putting the irony of his
plight in perspective.
Helgeson is simply another man who played by the rules, and now faces a nightmare.
In what he calls “a sellout,” Helgeson says Medicare has changed its deal for covering the prescription drug that kept him working for 10 years with increasingly severe rheumatoid arthritis. Enbrel used to cost him a $42 per month co-pay. Now it costs him $600 a month. He can’t afford it. So he stopped taking Enbrel four months ago.
“Six hundred a month is an awful lot of money on a fixed income,” he said. “I just can’t pay.”
But Helgeson is far from alone. At a recent State House hearing, doctors, patients advocates and patients themselves told lawmakers that not only is Medicare changing prescription drug rules, private insurers also have demanded high patient payment for some of the more expensive drugs treating cancer, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, hemophilia and multiple sclerosis.
According to a new group formed to combat this — the New England Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Blue Cross has already implemented higher payments for these so-called Tier 4 drugs in numerous states, including Rhode Island and Delaware. State Sen. Anthony Petrucelli (D-East Boston) has introduced legislation here to cap huge co-payments, but the bill’s fate in unclear.
Meanwhile, the coalition reports, more and more of the severely ill are delaying buying drugs they need or, like Helgeson, not buying them at all.
“Maybe Phil Mickelson can afford it,” Helgeson said, referring to the pro golfer’s ubiquitous Enbrel commercials. “I’d love to tell you that I can, too.
Helgeson could have made the same commercial because Enbrel worked wonders for him.
“After the first week or 10 days, it was a miracle. I was riding my bike. I painted my house,” he recalled.
He went fishing again at local lakes and at the South Boston yacht club where he’s belonged for 20 years. “I’d get up in the morning and the pain would just absolutely be gone. I can’t even begin to tell you,” Helgeson said.
These days, it’s a different story.
“Now I can deal with the pain until it gets terribly severe,” he said. “At that point I don’t know what I’m going to do, but if I get a major flare-up, I’ll end up in the hospital because I can’t breathe.”
Of course, Helgeson’s insurance covers hospitalization, even though that would cost way more than the Enbrel does.
So far, Ken Helgeson has been lucky — no “major flare-ups” yet.
His wife, Marion, however, paints a different picture. “Kenny’s not a guy to complain. But he’s struggling, and I hate to see him struggle,” she said. “Sometimes it takes him three times just to get out of bed. You know he married me with polio, but we never knew it would get this bad. My husband is a terrific fellow who’s taken care of me for 47 years. He just doesn’t deserve this.”
No arsenal ... is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.........Ronald Reagan