From the Nashville Tennessean — Originally published Thursday, Jan. 5

Despite a few successes, seniors face challenges in 2009 when it comes to prescription-drug coverage.

Given that Americans are now turning 65 at a faster rate, and given the stress the recession is placing on the elderly in particular, the challenges promise to be extreme.

Spiraling costs for brand-name drugs; increased health-plan premiums; and confusing information for seniors all threaten to undo the benefits of a slowdown in drug prices that was recorded in 2007. …

President Barack Obama has called the $100 billion in subsidies last year to companies such as Humana, Health Net and others to be excessive, and he has promised to cut them by as much as 15 percent a year. Meanwhile, those companies are increasing their premiums for 2009 by an average of 13 percent, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday.

It gives the appearance that private providers, seeing health-care reform on the horizon, wanted a little padding first. …

Tags Barack Obama Barack Obama Health Health care Health care reform Humana Illinois Luo people Person Career Quotation United States

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