FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Worried Sick About Prescription Costs

Ask about health care at a summer cookout, and you’ll likely get an earful about how drug corporations are gouging us, leaving many families to choose between buying medications or putting food on the table.

Why? Because corporations put profits before patients.

Look at a corporation like Mylan, the maker of EpiPen, which raked in $480 million in profits last year and paid its chairman $97.6 million, all while raising the price of the medication to more than $600 per dose.

And take Michael Pearson, the former CEO of the drug corporation Valeant, who put it bluntly: “The capitalistic approach to pricing is to charge what the market will bear.”

Meanwhile, I’ve been hearing from people around the country who are terrified that the health care repeal now before Congress will put life-saving medications even farther out of reach for them and their families.

From Alaska to Alabama, people are worried sick about being able to get insulin for diabetes, blood pressure drugs, and prescriptions for panic attacks, ovarian cysts, lupus, celiac disease, thyroid cancer, hemophilia, and many other conditions.

I’ve heard from people whose lives depend on medications priced at $6,000 a month or more. If the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid are slashed, they don’t know how they’ll survive.

So it’s understandable that health care repeal is a dud when it comes to public opinion, with the Republican leaders’ bill before Congress garnering support from only 12 percent of voters.

It’s also no surprise that making drugs more affordable is a winning proposition with the electorate. More than 60 percent of Republicans, Democrats, and independents think it should be a top priority for lawmakers to lower the price of prescription drugs.

In other words, voters think we can and should change the rules to curb drug corporations’ excessive profits and monopolies.

It’s only fair. The public pays for much of the research to develop prescription medications. And we believe medications should be a public good, affordable for everyone in the country.

One way to start is to require Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices. We could also shorten monopolies on lifesaving drugs, and make drug corporations justify their pricing by disclosing how much they spend on research, manufacturing, and marketing.

These solutions are popular, but none of them is included in the health care repeal legislation now before Congress. Instead, it hands drug corporations more than $25 billion in tax giveaways.

For them, that means higher profits. For us, it means higher premiums, higher deductibles, higher drug prices, and even the possibility our plans won’t cover medications at all.

Even worse, seniors, children, and people with disabilities will be kicked off Medicaid.

Nobody voted for that.

This health care repeal represents a real failure of Republican leadership to do what’s necessary to protect people and change the rules for drug corporations.

It’s also a betrayal of the promise made by President Trump, who once complained, “We’re the largest buyer of drugs in the world, and yet we don’t bid properly.” He even accused drug corporations of “getting away with murder.”

Let’s do what’s right for our country. Stop this health care repeal, and get down to the task of making health care — including lifesaving medications — affordable and available for all.

More articles by:

LeeAnn Hall is the co-director of People’s Action and a member of the executive committee of Health Care for America Now. Distributed by OtherWords.org.

Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss 
Pete Dolack
“Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers
Richard Eskow
Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute
Ramzy Baroud
In Breach of Human Rights, Netanyahu Supports the Death Penalty against Palestinians
Brian Terrell
Ending the War in Yemen- Congressional Resolution is Not Enough!
John Laforge
Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site
Ralph Nader
The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats
M. G. Piety
Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs
Rafael Correa
Ecuador’s Soft Coup and Political Persecution
Brian Cloughley
Aid Projects Can Work, But Not “Head-Smacking Stupid Ones”
David Swanson
A Tale of Two Marines
Robert Fantina
Democrats and the Mid-Term Elections
Joseph Flatley
The Fascist Creep: How Conspiracy Theories and an Unhinged President Created an Anti-Semitic Terrorist
Joseph Nevins
Twitter: Fast Track to the Id
William Hawes
Baselines for Activism: Brecht’s Stance, the New Science, and Planting Seeds
Bob Wing
Toward Racial Justice and a Third Reconstruction
Ron Jacobs
Hunter S. Thompson: Chronicling the Republic’s Fall
Oscar Gonzalez
Stan Lee and a Barrio Kid
Jack Rasmus
Election 2018 and the Unraveling of America
Sam Pizzigati
The Democrats Won Big, But Will They Go Bold?
Yves Engler
Canada and Saudi Arabia: Friends or Enemies?
Cesar Chelala
Can El Paso be a Model for Healing?
Mike Ferner
The Tragically Misnamed Paris Peace Conference
Barry Lando
Trump’s Enablers: Appalling Parallels
Jasmine Aguilera
Beto’s Lasting Legacy
Ariel Dorfman
The Boy Who Taught Me About War and Peace
Yves Engler
Ottawa, Yemen and Guardian
Michael Winship
This Was No Vote Accident
Binoy Kampmark
The Disgruntled Former Prime Minister
Tracey L. Rogers
Dear White Women, There May be Hope for You After All
Faisal Khan
Is Dubai Really a Destination of Choice?
Arnold August
The Importance of Néstor García Iturbe, Cuban Intellectual
James Munson
An Indecisive War To End All Wars, I Mean the Midterm Elections
Nyla Ali Khan
Women as Repositories of Communal Values and Cultural Traditions
Thomas Knapp
Scott Gottlieb’s Nicotine Nazism Will Kill Kids, Not Save Them
Dan Bacher
Judge Orders Moratorium on Offshore Fracking in Federal Waters off California
Christopher Brauchli
When Depravity Wins
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail