Saturday, November 6, 2010


I was one of those people forced to change my Health Insurance because Medicare C & D were eliminated. That among other reasons makes the following quotation of great interest to me. I quote it from a published source reliable for the basic facts, but I do not reference it so either Left or Right can yell prejudice or propaganda, (Quote in italics):

Although Medicare is a model for the sort of public health plan that could be extended to cover all Americans, thanks to the Bush administration’s reform of so-called Part D, it is forbidden by law from bargaining with drug manufacturers to lower prices and is unable to get the best deal for the millions of senior citizens who use its drug plans. On average, the prices for the most commonly prescribed drugs are 58 percent higher when obtained through Medicare than through the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is allowed to negotiate prices with drug companies (the reason my bro in law goes to VA for drugs). That gaping hole through which millions of Americans now fall thanks to Part D could easily be plugged if Medicare were allowed to bargain. But the free market is worshipped by the Right, it seems only when it doesn’t interfere with the mega profits of the monopolies that fund it.

It’s not terribly surprising that Big Pharma would prefer to be shielded from the enormous buying power of Medicare. The artificially high prices goose their profit margins. In the campaign to preserve their windfall profits, the drug companies have enlisted the Right. And to justify its egregiously laissez-unfaire position, the Right does a little rhetorical yoga. Here’s how Ron Pollock of Families USA explains it: ‘Opponents of Medicare bargaining make two contradictory claims. First, they claim that private market competition under Part D is more effective in reducing prices than Medicare bargaining; and second, they claim that Medicare bargaining would reduce prices so significantly it would harm research and development [much of which is already paid for by research grants]. These arguments cannot both be true--and, indeed, neither is true” (bold added).

Compound this with the fact that top drug companies spend two to three times as much on marketing as they do on research. Add to this the fact that they spend huge amounts hawking cures for once unheard of medical conditions like Restless Leg Syndrome, or some illogical need for Viagra or its substitute (You can‘t watch a baseball game without seeing that Viagra sign on the right field fence). Then, note that President Bush used another of his rare vetoes to block a bill that would have allocated $30 (b)illion for the National Institutes of Health, where cutting-edge research is done, and an additional $6.3 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This remains one more example of the assault on American Values and the general populace that is slowly being reduced to less than affluent levels while the upper echelons of wealth receive increased protection via tax cuts, tax havens, S&L scandals, Wall Street meltdowns, Housing Industry calamities, et cetera, ad infinitum … ad nauseum ...

This is …
Warner’s World,

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