Healthcare CEO’s don’t give a damn about patients

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

-Consumer Reports survey of 1,200 adults who currently take prescription medications. During the past year, 22 percent of them—which comes to an estimated 27 million Americans—experienced a price hike for one or more of their medications.

About 20 percent said they said they didn’t fill their prescription at all because of costs.

-More than a quarter of people blamed their insurer for their drug price increase.

-According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 40 percent of adults younger than 65 who get insurance through their employer had high-deductible plans in 2016. That’s up from 26 percent in 2011.

Do pharma CEO’s even have a conscience? Given their salaries (see below) it’s hard to understand why so many people are having a hard time paying for medications.

When it comes to health insurance CEO’s their pay packages are also obscene.

Thirty-Seven percent of Americans now report having difficulty paying their monthly premiums, 43 percent report having difficulty paying their deductibles, and 34 percent of insured Americans report bring unable to pay for food, rent, and housing due to an illness. All the while, unregulated insurance premiums continue to skyrocket far faster than inflation or wages (Fig 3). In California alone, insurance rates have increased over 200 percent in the past 10 years and are expected to only get worse.

Whenever the private insurance industry has felt the slightest threat to their privileged existence, they have launched expensive and aggressive multi-million dollar misinformation campaigns designed to confuse and scare the general electorate, while simultaneously lobbying legislators from both parties to remain beholden to their every command. Ironically, it is much of our own premium dollars that are being used to maintain an immoral and broken status quo rather than on actual patient care.

Chart shows the rise in health insurance premiums and contributions; 2c x 3 inches; 96.3 mm x 76 mm;

Prescription drug costs for Americans under 65 years old are projected to jump 11.6 percent in 2017, or at a quicker pace than the 11.3 percent price increase in 201 6, according to consulting firm Segal Consulting. Older Americans won’t get much of a break: Their drug costs are projected to rise 9.9 percent next year, compared with 10.9 percent in 2016. By comparison, wages are expected to rise just 2.5 percent in 2017.

  • Over the past seven years, generic drugs increased their share of total prescriptions filled from 66 percent to 82 percent, while brand drugs’ share of total prescriptions declined from 34 percent to 18 percent.

  • However, the rising cost of a narrow set of new drugs has resulted in the brand drug market maintaining 78 percent of total drug spending, roughly the same proportion it held in 2010.

 

 

  • These patent-protected single-source drugs now make up 63 percent of total drug spending, up from 29 percent of total spending in 2010, despite the fact that they comprise less than 10 percent of total prescriptions filled.

 

  • After a lower-cost generic drug is introduced, the resulting increase in the number of generic manufacturers and the generic share of the market for that drug consistently yields a reduction in total spending within a drug class.

Essentially the drug companies are forcing voters to hold elected officials accountable.  Suggested programs like having Medicare negotiate drug prices and cutting DTC may come to be law.

As for health care CEO’s salaries, as long as they climb in bed with Wall Street nobody is going to care but maybe it’s time for all of us to send a message that enough is enough.

 

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