An open letter to President Barack Obama:
It is probably pointless to write and mail this letter to you, since you will probably never receive or read it, but I felt compelled to nonetheless.
My name is Lisa Carrieri-Veneziano and I work in the pharmacy at the Waldbaum’s supermarket in College Point. I am a divorced, single parent of three teenagers — aged 13, 14 and 18 — and my widowed, 85-year-old mother lives with us. I am a white-collar professional in the medical field and I work full-time.
I have been struggling with many issues in the last three years. Medical and prescription coverage is a problem. I never realized that we had a dollar cap until we hit it three years ago. The cap is $8,000 per year for my family and it would be worse if I was married. My children have secondary coverage with their father, but it never pays anything — not even to reimburse my co-pays!
Last year I spent $20,000 out of my pocket to buy medications. Maybe that is not much for some people, but it was huge for me. I could have used that money for other things, like paying my mortgage. Thank God I live close to work, but still, gas is around $4 per gallon.
The cost of heating oil is also outrageous as well as Consolidated Edison. We have had the air conditioner running since May, but at 75 degrees. I cannot turn it off because my mother has pulmonary problems and uses oxygen.
My children all went to private school, which was a huge sacrifice. Public schools are overcrowded, understaffed and dangerous, but free? I am in a union and after about a year of negotiations we had to sign a contract or have no job. The outcome was I lost one week’s paid vacation and half of paid personal days, got a five-year pay freeze and have to work the first hour of every week for minimum wage.
What an insult to the pharmacy professionals everywhere. It is disgraceful, but what is a pharmacist to do with no jobs available? Now pharmacists also have to worry about losing their lives while performing their duties because of oxycontin and hydrocodone addicts. I want to work behind bullet-proof windows.
I have said for years that the drug manufacturers need to be hit. They are making huge bucks, but not pharmacists or pharmacies. You would laugh at the mark-ups, if there are any.
If for just one day everyone would not buy any medications, stores, hospitals, nursing homes, the drug manufacturers, etc., would be crying.
In my situation, I am thinking twice about spending a boatload of money for higher education, but for what? No jobs, respect or money. Higher-income people need to be taxed and pay their taxes, not given tax breaks and loopholes. Newspapers, TV and the Internet are full of nobodies making and wasting millions of dollars.
I do not know what the answer is, but there just seems to be more and more problems.