Sunday, April 29, 2001

Group seeks action on health care

Drug costs, insurance among issues

By Randy McNutt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Betsey Exline calls herself a senior taking action.

        Late last year, she decided to form a lobbying and informational group, Seniors Tak ing Action, to help adults of all ages in the area.

        The group's main issues include seeking a patient's bill of rights, and affordable health-insurance premiums and prescription drugs.

        “One of our main goals is to get the cost of prescription drugs affordable for everyone,” said Mrs. Exline, a retired secretary from Hamilton.

        Since holding a public forum at Miami University Hamilton in February, the group has grown to 100 people.

        Diane Cox of Hamilton said she joined when she became outraged over the rising costs of her medications.

        “One medication went from $59 to $129 in a month,” she said. “The prescriptions are out of sight.”

        Ms. Exline said the best way to get the attention of government and industry officials is by having people working together.

        The group's mission statement features some feisty talk: “The message to politicians is that it is time to fight for the rights of all senior and disabled citizens to have equal access to affordable, lifesaving prescription drugs, and health-care insurance premiums.”

        The group will hold an open forum from 10 a.m. to noon June 4 at Miami University Hamilton's Parrish Auditorium. Speakers will include Daniel Keeney, from drug maker Glaxo; Robert Logan of the Ohio Depart ment of Aging; Kathy Tefft-Keller, state director of AARP; and Justin Hamper, of Patient Assistant Service, of Marion, Ohio, which helps with prescription drugs. State Rep. Greg Jolivette, a Hamilton Republican, will also attend.

       Seniors Taking Action meets from 2-3:30 p.m. on Sundays at Garfield Junior High, 250 N. Fair Ave., Hamilton. The public is invited.

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