Imbruvica, a cancer medication, carries a wholesale price of about $16,000 a month. Patients on Medicare who don’t qualify for low-income subsidies could see out-of-pocket costs for the drug of over $12,000. Isn’t it time for Congress to finally pass legislation that helps patients?
According to The Hill “, a large majority of the public favors allowing the government to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices, according to a new poll that comes as a legislative battle plays out on the issue. The poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 83 percent of the public favors allowing the government to negotiate lower drug prices, for people both on Medicare and those in private insurance plans”.
Pharma, however, is fighting back. The pharma industry spends more on lobbying than any other industry, having shelled out $314 million across about 1,600 lobbyists in 2021, spending almost three times the amount of the next biggest spender in the health sector. These hospitals spent $116 million on federal lobbying in 2021. They’re going to need it.
A bill to lower drug prices via negotiations with Medicare is finally moving forward, but PhRMA has bought some politicians.
McConnell wants to stop Democrats from using a process known as “reconciliation” to pass that prescription-drug bill by a simple majority vote, immune from any GOP filibuster. And to stop Americans from getting cheaper prescriptions, he is willing to sabotage American manufacturers (and therefore assist China) by denying them $52 billion in support under the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act.
When McConnell entered Congress, his net worth was six-figures now; he’s worth over $35 million while Medicare patients struggle to pay for cancer drugs. But over 80% of cancer patients say they’ve had to make financial sacrifices to cover their health care expenses, including 44% who’ve dipped into their savings, 36% who’ve gone into credit card debt to pay medical bills and nearly a quarter who say they did not schedule or cancelled an appointment or procedure because of cost.
Several federal and state programs provide financial benefits to individuals and families. These benefits, known as entitlements, are primarily set up for low-income households, older adults, and the disabled. Each entitlement has eligibility requirements. There are also programs administered through state governments that can help with healthcare-related needs. Government assistance programs include:
Information on public assistance and food stamps.
Benefits for older adults. Eldercare Locator finds resources in your community.
The problem is that these programs are often very bureaucratic to apply for, and there are still too many people who fall through the cracks because of flaws in the system.
While companies like AbbVie find ways to hide profits, offshore patients wonder how they can afford expensive treatments. We’re supposed to be more advanced than this.