Congressman Marion Berry Addresses Health Care Costs in Arkansas

April 13, 2004--Posted at 7:00 p.m. CDT

BATESVILLE--In the last eight years, the cost of prescription drugs has been rising by a double digit percentage.

My medical bill last year was well over $4000.00

Congressman Berry agrees medicare is one of the best programs ever devised; however it is lacking in one particular area.

"It doesn't provide coverage for prescription drugs,"said Berry.

"In America there is a public law allowing people who make prescription drugs to charge what they want... And there's nothing we can do about it,"said Berry.

"As a matter of public law we give these people the exclusive right to rob our citizens,"said Berry.

Now Berry says the medicare bill made it worse because,"it put into the law once again that you can't negotiate for lower prices,"said Berry.

Of course one of the main questions today for Congressman Berry was what can citizens do to lower the cost of prescription drugs in America.

Berry said it is imperative that they call the people who represent them in Washington.

He stressed the battle to fight the bill can't be won by one takes everyone voicing their opposition to the medicare bill.

In may of 2004, some companies will offer medicare endorsed "drug discount cards". These cards *may* offer discounts on some drugs....but not all of them.

The primary benefit begins in 2006. This means people will be able to sign up with private insurance companies that may provide a drug benefit.

In Batesville with Photojournalist Chris Haag...Lauren Payne K-8 news.