According to a 2021 study, 1.1 million deaths—including one in two of those under 65, thanks in large part to our abysmal health care system—”would have been averted if the U.S. had the mortality rates of other wealthy nations. One in three GoFundMe campaigns is now for healthcare-related costs, and it’s getting worse.
Democrats have been campaigning for 30 years on promises they’d let Medicare directly negotiate the cost of prescription drugs. Now, after the majority of voters want reduced costs for their prescription drugs, the bill seems ready to pass despite record pharma lobbying.
Nationwide, prescription drug spending last year is estimated to be $328 billion among all payers, including private insurance, Medicare Part D, and patients’ out-of-pocket expenses. Reforms to let Medicare negotiate prices, cap out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, and limit insulin cost-sharing would make lifesaving drugs more affordable. Still, the pharma industry is fighting hard to keep it off the table.
A federal appeals court rejected Pfizer’s challenge to a U.S. anti-kickback law that the drugmaker said prevented it from helping heart failure patients, many with low incomes, afford the medicine that costs $225,000 annually. For many, these coupons represent the difference between filling a prescription and going without lifesaving care, but there is a lot more here than just a co-pay coupon.
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?
Imagine a medicine that reduced the death rate of breast cancer and risk of recurrent breast cancer by 50% lowered the risks of colon cancer and type 2 diabetes by two-thirds, and those of heart disease, hypertension, and Alzheimer’s’ disease by 40%. On top of that, it can be as effective as antidepressants or cognitive behavioral therapy in countering depression. That medicine exists, says Dr. Edward Laskowski of the Mayo Clinic: It’s’ called exercise. But…
Approximately 96 million American adults—more than 1 in 3—have prediabetes. Of those with prediabetes, more than 80% don’t know they have it. Prediabetes increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke (Source: CDC). Almost half of older adults — more than 26 million people 65 and older — have prediabetes. That’s a clear and present danger to our country.
Advanced economies typically spend about 10% of GDP on keeping their citizens in good health, a share that is rising as populations age. America’s profit-riddled healthcare-industrial complex consumes 17% of GDP, equivalent to $3.6trn a year. That is unsustainable. However, changes are slowly being implemented that could lower healthcare costs.