How Many More People Have to Die Before We Pass Medicare for All?
- Total Posts: 8,950
This year, when it came time to renew my prescription, the insurance company told me the drug that worked so well to fight my cancer isn’t “medically necessary.” After several rounds of appeals they finally approved it, but would not pay for it. I was looking at a bill of $23,000 a month to pay for my medication.
After more appeals, and almost two stressful months without the drug when my body went into a steep decline, we finally got Carefirst to do what it’s supposed to: pay for the medication I need to stay alive.
As I’ve taken on the physical toll of fighting cancer, I’ve also been forced to shoulder the emotional stress of fighting to get the care I need and not knowing if I’ll get it. Some days, it’s extremely difficult to bear.
And I’m one of the lucky ones. I have “good” insurance, which gives me more options than the millions of Americans who are uninsured or underinsured. In 2019, nearly 30 million people didn’t have health insurance. Another 10.1 million people lost their employer-sponsored health insurance during the pandemic. In fact, one-third of the more than 500,000 deaths from COVID-19 are tied to a lack of insurance.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
March 25, 2021 at 1:07 PM #412883Bernie BoomerParticipant
- Total Posts: 489
Because too many people believe that health care is not a human right, but a perk for being a team-player in American free-market capitalism. The outrageous cost of drugs is one reason they keep those blinders in place; the absolute fear that they will someday need a drug they know they can’t begin to afford . . . and the fingers-crossed wishful hope that their insurance will pay for it.
Almost 20 years ago, my father was diagnosed with an uncommon (not necessarily rare) cancer called GIST. The Mayo clinic was doing a trial of a new drug, called imatinab (Gleevec) – designed to treat leukemia – on this type of cancer. My dad, retired military, good insurance, was in the right place at the right time and managed to qualify for the trial.
The regimen for the drug was one pill per day. My dad paid his standard co-pay through TriCare (Medicare for All, anyone? Pretty damned close). The actual retail price for the drug was $3,000 PER pill.
It kept him alive for seven years.
Today, Gleevec costs about $100 PER pill – and it is remarkably effective at keeping people with leukemia and other blood-borne cancers alive. There is a generic version that costs about half that, produced over Novartis’ objections.
Novartis is still raking in obscene profits, despite the reduction in cost – and like all the drug companies, they claim they need to charge that much to offset the billions they spend doing research and trials. But in the case of Gleevec, that’s a lie. Of the total amount of research/trial funding spent, Novartis lay out about 10%. The rest came from the government and from foundations, but that hasn’t stopped them from claiming they deserve the profit.
Novartis was not “the innovative force.” Not only was all the basic research done in academic institutions, but so were the initial clinical investigations that showed STI 571 to be specifically effective against CML cells in vitro and in vivo. In fact, it took a few years for Brian Druker, the investigator most responsible for these latter studies, to convince Novartis that it should invest in a crash program to develop Gleevec and to undertake large-scale clinical trials.
Relman, A. (2003). Book Review: Magic Cancer Bullet: How a Tiny Orange Pill Is Rewriting. Medical History. JAMA, 290: 2194-2195
If we want M4A to work, we have to rein in the drug companies. Based on articles I’ve seen in the last week about Pfizer (et al) planning on raising their prices on the Covid vaccines, I don’t see any will to do that.
March 25, 2021 at 1:14 PM #412884
March 25, 2021 at 2:47 PM #412899djean111Participant
- Total Posts: 6,036
Pharma and insurance companies can always just raise prices in order to offset loss of customers. That is the operative word – customers. After all, they just raise prices to offset any revenue lost when customers die. They do not think of us as “people”, just as customers and profit points.
America is not a country, it's just a business. (Brad Pitt, Killing Them Softly)
Everything I post is just my opinion, and, honestly, I would love to be wrong.
March 25, 2021 at 4:02 PM #412908SatanParticipant
- Total Posts: 4,733
…..are a bunch of corporate stooges in Washington DC. Most of whom – ironically enough – are eligible for the existing Medicare themselves.
And just in case any mortal government spies/law enforcement agents are lurking, there are no threats of violence against government officials implied here. Just pointing out the reality that most of the folks blocking such necessary progress are over 70 years old, and thus not likely to be in the way for too many more years, so that problem will eventually solve itself. The real question is whether the younger folks who eventually replace them are a little more based in reality as to what the state of US mortal health care actually is.
"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable". - John F. Kennedy
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