Lawmakers can keep health care and prescription drugs affordable

Our representatives in Springfield should turn their attention to the big drug companies that continue to profit off the backs of hard-working families.

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Jennifer Pham, co-owner of Mini Tx Pharmacy, arranges medicines while co-owner Thoa Bui looks at prescription bottles inside the pharmacy Sept. 2020 in the Uptown neighborhood.

Jennifer Pham, co-owner of Mini Tx Pharmacy, arranges medicines while co-owner Thoa Bui looks at prescription bottles in September 2020 in Uptown.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Recently, Michael Flanigan wrote in the Sun-Times about several things Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Attorney General Kwame Raoul are doing to go after prescription drug price-gouging by big drug companies and pharmacy service administrative organizations.

While it is great to see progress, we also need to make sure our elected officials support efforts like these, rather than push bills that would raise health care and prescription drug costs.

As a longstanding member of IBEW Local 134, who ran my own business for 23 years, I have always put health care costs very front of mind when balancing my budget. But now that I’m retired, that’s even more important than ever.

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We have a lot of good lawmakers in Springfield working hard to lower health care costs, which is why I was so surprised to see legislators considered two bills this session, HB 3787 and HB 3761, that would have increased health care costs for hard-working Illinois families, union members and businesses.

These bills would have restricted the pharmacy benefits that nearly all of us depend and would do nothing to address the sky-high prices set by big drug companies.

I would rather see our state lawmakers take action to rein in big drug companies instead of targeting pharmacy benefits. Our representatives should follow the lead of Pritzker and Raoul by turning their attention to the big drug companies that continue to profit off the backs of hard-working families.

I’m not just worried about these bills for me. I also worry about my kids, who are starting careers and families of their own. One is a public school teacher, another started his own company.

I also worry about other families who are having a hard time making ends meet and living paycheck to paycheck, especially in Cook County where sales and property taxes are already so high.

Tim O’Keefe, union member and retired owner, O’Keefe Electric, Inc., Evergreen Park

Police failing to enforce traffic laws

I read with concern your article about the non-response of our police to the Loop chaos last weekend. However, I was not surprised. I have lived in the Loop for over 10 years, and I frequently see police officers refuse to enforce laws.

Just this past week, I was walking on Michigan Avenue busy with pedestrians, and as I passed a parked squad car, with its lights on, an illegally modified motorcycle raced down Michigan Avenue and popped a wheelie for the entire block. The officers sat there watching, doing nothing to stop this endangerment to pedestrians, drivers and property.

On the news I saw a video where three cars with illegally modified mufflers took a downtown corner at a high rate of speed, burning rubber on the road in front of two police officers. They did not attempt to stop and impound the vehicles; they didn’t even take license plate numbers.

We do need to defund the police, an early position of Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson, the department is already AWOL!

Jim Murray, Loop

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