Sunday, May 19, 2013

Republicans to shift the rising cost of health care to individuals, and let Medicare wither due to Massive Big Pharma Profits!

While Democrats try their damnedest to provide health care to everyone and control costs, Republican free marketers are gleefully watching venture capitalists reap massive profits from lifesaving drugs. Oh, and that problem we’re having with affordable health care…is only getting worse.

If there ever was an argument against Paul Ryan’s competitive free market solution, this is it in spades.

While on one level a few of the more cosmetic but important treatments might benefit from competition, venture capitalists will trash any savings and dramatically drain the economy of consumer dollars. All on the backs of taxpayers who footed the research in the first place:
jsonline: What happens when a disease-fighting charity dives into venture capitalism? In the first case of its kind, the results include one of the planet's most expensive pills, huge sales projections for a drug company and windfalls for executives who sold stock in the glow of enthusiastic news releases about the drug … funding from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and by taxpayers through the National Institutes of Health. Yet it costs each patient $307,000 a year to take two Kalydeco pills a day - a price borne by taxpayers through Medicaid and other government programs and by the workers and companies who finance employee health insurance plans. More than 50% of children and one-third of adults with cystic fibrosis have their treatments paid for by taxpayer-funded programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare … Taxpayers helped fund the science that led to Kalydeco.

In the 1990s … the federal health research agency tried to encourage reasonable pricing of drugs developed with the help of its funding, but drug companies were not interested. In December, a Journal Sentinel investigation found that treatment guidelines connected with the 25 top-selling drugs in America were heavily influenced by doctors with financial ties to drug companies. In some cases, nonprofit associations issued the guidelines and also had financial ties to the drug companies.
Adding to the inhumanity of gaming the system:
Robert Beall, president of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, said that without its financial support, drugs such as Kalydeco would never get to patients. He rejected the idea of using the royalty money to help patients pay for the medical care, noting that the foundation needed the money to entice drug companies to get involved in risky cystic fibrosis drug research. Beall said the foundation did not ask Vertex to price the drug more affordably. "That would have been a deal-breaker," he said.
And that’s our broken free market health care system. See any reason to completely reform it?

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