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‘Who’s AARP really fighting for?’

AARP conveniently ignores that, despite net prices for brand medicines growing just 0.3 percent last year, patients are paying more out of pocket.

America’s biopharmaceutical manufacturers agree that ground-breaking treatments and cures help no one if patients can’t afford them.

That’s one of the reasons PhRMA developed its Medicine Assistance Tool (MAT), an easy-to-use tool that connects eligible patients with more than 900 assistance programs.

In their continued focus on the list price of medicines, AARP conveniently ignores that, despite net prices for brand medicines growing just 0.3 percent last year, patients are paying more out of pocket.

Perhaps they ignore these facts — including in a recent op-ed published in the Sun-Times — because the legislation being pushed by AARP and their allies in the insurance industry would do nothing to help lower medicine costs for seniors in Illinois.

Currently, insurance companies and other middlemen like pharmacy benefit managers get big discounts on medicines through Medicare but don’t always pass those savings along to seniors.

As lawmakers consider policies aimed at lowering the cost of medicine for seniors, they should push for solutions that require those savings be shared directly with seniors at the pharmacy counter.

Don’t take our word for it; 86% of AARP’s own members agree.

Last year, PhRMA member companies invested $79.6 billion in research and development. At the same time, AARP was advocating for misguided legislation that would siphon more than $120 billion away from the R&D of new medicines that help prevent, treat and cure disease.

Unlike AARP, we’d rather see these savings in seniors’ pockets.

So why would AARP oppose reforms overwhelmingly supported by its members and instead push for policies that put insurers before seniors?

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AARP has made more than $4.5 billion in royalties and investment income since 2010 thanks to their cozy relationship with insurance companies. While AARP collected $301 million in membership dues in 2017, the organization took in about $627 million in royalties from United Healthcare Group.

It’s clear AARP chooses to stand with insurance companies, from whom AARP has received most of their revenue in recent years, instead of their own members.

As AARP mounts its multimillion-dollar campaign advocating for policies that put insurance companies before seniors, Illinoisans should ask, “Who is AARP really fighting for?”

Tiffany Haverly, Director of Public Affairs for PhRMA

Chicago should increase city service fees

Chicago needs to consider increasing city service fees rather than looking at the general public to fill the purse. One of these service fees is the Chicago Zoning Certification.

When a property is transferred or sold in Chicago, a water certification is required.

At the same time, when the same property is transferred or sold a zoning certification costing $120 might be required, depending on residential use.

Currently, if a building is a single family homes or multifamily building with up to five units this extra paperwork is required, yet a condo is a single dwelling unit and does not require this fee or paperwork.

Chicago has more residences who live in condos. Some of the most wealthy parts of the city are entirely condo and, more importantly, Chicago has more transfers involving condominiums than any other property type annually.

We need to close this paperwork loophole and look for similar ways to raise revenue before hitting up homeowners with property tax increases.

Andrew Border, Rogers Park