USA Today Fails Its Readers

SUMMARY: An editorial by Margarida Jorge, the campaign director of the Lower Drug Prices Now coalition and Frank Clemente is the executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness piles on big pharma but they are doing their readers a disservice by focusing strictly on pharma drug prices.

Axios reported “the cost of private health insurance is out of control, compared to Medicare and Medicaid. You see that clearly if you take a long-term view of recently released federal data on health spending”.

Per capita spending for private insurance has grown by 52.6% over the last 10 years.

As I have stated here before, even if all prescription drugs were free the cost of healthcare in the United States would be rising substantially.

Axios also reported “the hospital industry is getting back almost $800 million, and the Trump administration has failed to implement another regulation — one that most experts support, too. Any hospital that was paid a lower amount for a routine clinic visit in 2019 will automatically be paid the difference from the older, higher amount, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said in a bulletin on Thursday.

To be fair big pharma is no poster for fairness ” the 10 biggest American pharma companies racked up almost $69 billion in worldwide profits last year on over $330 billion in sales. Big Pharma’s profit margin of 15% to 20% is about three times higher than the average across the largest 500 companies across all industries. But….

First, Millennials, who now account for the largest share of the U.S. population and labor force, are seeing their health — including both physical and behavioral health conditions — decline faster than the previous generation as they age, according to a report published by Moody’s Analytics, based on data from Blue Cross Blue Shield.

As a result, millennials, or individuals born between 1981 and 1996, will likely see more expensive health care costs in the year ahead. If the trend continues at the current rate, millennial treatment costs are still projected to be close to $4,500 annually, roughly 33 percent higher than those of Generation X at a comparable age, by 2027. That’s about $375 per month.

Then there are insurers. The cost of a family insurance plan rose 5% this year, to an average of $20,576, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Overall inflation is just 2%. Individuals pay more than $6,000 of that cost, with employers paying the rest. Deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses have been rising, too.

Yes, drug prices are a problem but failing to address the real reasons why healthcare costs are rising is doing all of us a huge disservice.