Here in the heart of Florida’s retirement community, that swath consisting of gated communities, condominiums, and apartment complexes that surround Interstate 4 from Tampa through Lakeland, Kissimmee, and Orlando to Daytona Beach, Donald Trump’s promises to senior citizens and veterans have never produced any results. The laissez-faire public health policies enacted by Trump, aided and abetted by Florida’s incompetent Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, have resulted in needless deaths among seniors and veterans. These vulnerable members of society with co-morbidities, including heart disease, diabetes, and for veterans, combat-related injuries, were made more susceptible to Covid-19 super-spreading resulting from Trump campaign rallies in Sanford, The Villages, and Ocala.
Trump promised less expensive prescription drugs to seniors on Medicare. Instead, prescription drug costs have skyrocketed, with many seniors, including those having supplemental Medicare coverage, reaching into their savings to pay exorbitant prices for life-sustaining drugs.
Neither have veterans seen an improvement in service from the Veterans Affairs Department medical system. In fact, the quality of medical care for veterans has decreased sharply from that provided by the Obama administration. Veterans have seen prescription drugs rationed and slow to reach patients as a result of Trump’s order to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to cripple mail delivery services. The National Nurses United has protested against the VA’s malfeasance for the number of deaths among veterans and VA medical care providers and staff.
Many veterans, particularly those in rural areas, have relied on the USPS for delivery of their prescription drugs from the VA. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the VA, whose secretary, Robert Wilkie, is more interested in preserving the legacy of the Confederacy than in seeing to the health needs of veterans, has relied on telemedicine rather than personal visitation health care. During the pandemic, the VA has seen 3,900 veterans die from the virus with cases topping 72,000. The victims span all of America’s wars, from World War II and Korea to Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Iraq/Afghanistan.
Seniors on Medicare are also feeling the financial pinch of skyrocketing drug costs under Trump. Jardiance is a Medicare Tier 3 medication for those with Type 2 diabetes. As a preferred brand-name drug, Jardiance has no generic alternative and the cost for 30, 25MG tablets is a whopping $896.35. Under some Medicare supplemental policies, the cost is between $15 and $60 for the same amount and dosage. Asthma and COPD sufferers reliant on Advair can pay between $60 and $425 for a 60-day supply of the disk inhaler. Under Trump, rising prescription costs have resulted in sticker shock for those retirees on fixed incomes.
Jardiance is manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company, the same firm for which Trump Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar served as president. Azar not only controls what Medicare charges patients for Jardiance, but his old firm — where he possesses millions of dollars in stock options — reaps the profits from costs both paid by Medicare to Eli Lilly and those passed on to senior citizens covered by Medicare Part D for prescriptions. For Azar, it is a win-win situation. For senior citizens on Medicare, it is a swift kick in the pants.
Medical care for veterans has been set by a troika of billionaire shysters, who are members of Mar-a-Lago. Working alongside Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, the “Mar-a-Lago Trio” are Ike Perlmutter, the chairman of Marvel Entertainment; Dr. Bruce Moskowitz, a Palm Beach “concierge doctor” for the uber-rich; and Marc Sherman, a shyster lawyer pal of Trump. None have ever served in the U.S. military, although they have been generous in their support for Israel and Perlmutter is a veteran of the Israel Defense Force. Perlmutter and Sherman have no experience in medical services.
Trump’s only contact with struggling seniors and veterans is when he passes their adult-restricted communities on the road from West Palm Beach International Airport to his Palm Beach Mar-a-Lago den of debauchery and scheming billionaires.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).