Drug companies are boosting prices so fast in the past few weeks that everybody is noticing it even the mainstream media. At the same time the pharmaceutical companies and the insurance companies have more quietly been engaged in merger mania consolidating power and the ability to control the cost and delivery of health care in the hands of a few mega-corporations. Underneath this all, health care for millions of people is growing less affordable. These are two of the big topics on UHCAN’s next national call next Tuesday, Oct. 13th, so please join us to hear some of the latest strategies allied groups are developing to confront the escalating crisis.
Here are just a few of the recent reports, commentaries and analyses that have come out in the few weeks:
From the Commonwealth Fund Blog, 10/9/15:
What’s the Big Deal About Drug Prices?
“So, what’s the big deal about drug prices?
“Americans believe in markets. Some think that markets should govern health care, just like other economic sectors. …
“Why all the uproar about drug prices? The answer: humans. People feel differently about drugs, and many other health care products, than they do about the myriad other things that get bought and sold, without controversy, in normal markets. Lots of Americans are just deeply uncomfortable with the idea that other humans could die or suffer needlessly because they couldn’t afford a pill – just a little pill, for heaven’s sake! – that could have made them better. (Some also really resent apparent profiteering by companies exploiting an unfair edge, but that is a slightly different issue.) When it comes to life, death, and suffering, many Americans act as if they think market efficiency is less important than caring for others. …”
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Op-ed in Roll Call (10/6/15) by Wendell Potter and Lee Ann Hall, Executive Director of the Alliance for a Just Society:
Let’s Block Too-Big-to-Fail Insurance Companies
“ If you thought too-big-to-fail banks were dangerous, watch out for too-big-to-fail health insurance companies. … This summer, the country’s top insurers announced a spate of merger plans, lighting up the business pages nationwide. Health insurance giant Anthem unveiled its intention to absorb competitor Cigna, while Aetna put in a bid for Humana — mergers that, if approved, will cut the country’s big insurers down from five to just three. Add to these proposals Centene’s plan to scoop up Health Net, and it looks like a feeding frenzy.
“The bad news is that we’re the bait. …”
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From Jill Zorn’s blog on the Health Care Hub at the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut:
Big Pharma: Dangerous Practices Don’t End With Martin Shkreli (9/28/15)
Big Pharma: Life Saver or Criminal Enterprise? (9/21/15)
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Report from the Center for American Progress, 9/18/15:
Enough is Enough: The Time Has Come to Address Sky-High Drug Prices (9/18/15)
UHCAN Alert, 10/9/15 – Drug prices go crazy and people are reacting!