TODAY”S DATA POINT: In the July 8-10 poll of 1,988 registered voters the pharma industry was the subject of intense ire. Three in 4 voters say they have little or no confidence in drug companies to reduce costs; over half say they don’t trust pharmaceutical companies at all.
The distrust of the pharma is one area where political parties find common ground. Republicans are only slightly more likely to trust the private health insurance market than Democrats, by a margin of 5 points (28 percent vs. 23 percent). The survey’s margin of error is 2 percentage points.
More than four in 10 said they had “a lot” or “some trust” in government regulators, such as the Health and Human Services Department and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to keep the costs of health care low. That’s compared to 23 percent who said the same of the private insurance market.
Let’s look at some hard data on healthcare..
1ne: Nearly 45,000 annual deaths are associated with lack of health insurance, according to a new study published online by the American Journal of Public Health. That figure is about two and a half times higher than an estimate from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2002.
2wo: The U.S., which spends the most on health care, bucks that trend. Compared to the 35 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which promotes policies to improve social and economic well-being, the U.S. life expectancy of 78.8 years ranks 27th. It has the fourth-highest infant mortality rate in the OECD, the sixth highest maternal mortality rate and the ninth highest likelihood of dying at a younger age from a host of ailments, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.
3hree: The U.S. spends more per capita on prescription medicines and over-the-counter products than any other country in the OECD.
4our: 77 percent said they fear rising health care costs will damage the nation’s economy, 47 percent have no idea how much a trip to an emergency room would cost, 41 percent have declined visiting an ER because of cost uncertainty, and 45 percent fear a major health problem will lead to bankruptcy.
5ive: 66.5% of all bankruptcies are related to medical issues, either because of expensive medical bills or time away from work, reported Lorie Konish for CNBC, citing a study by the American Journal of Public Health.
6ix: In the last 12 years, annual deductibles in job-based health plans have nearly quadrupled and now average more than $1,300. One in six Americans who get insurance through their jobs say they’ve had to make “difficult sacrifices” to pay for healthcare in the last year, including cutting back on food, moving in with friends or family, or taking extra jobs. And one in five says healthcare costs have eaten up all or most of their savings.
What this means is that people are going to continue to hold politicians accountable to solve our messy and expensive healthcare system. Pharma companies have essentially turned a deaf ear to all this chasing to raise prices again this year despite the public outcry.