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Outrageous Costs For Medical Care: Predatory Practices of Medical Corporations

2014-04-06

An article in today’s New York Times online details dramatic cost increases in medical care in the United States: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/06/health/even-small-medical-advances-can-mean-big-jumps-in-bills.html?hp

Here are some illustrative comments to the article:

 

“2009 FDA granting of “market exclusivity” to URL Pharma to remove colchicine ( isolated in 1833) from the market, selling @ .09 per pill & replace it with Colcrys selling @ $4.85 per pill. If this isn’t a case of effective “lobbying” & campaign coffer contributions, I don’t know what is. As an R.N., I decided to use an alternate Rx.” –Victoria Merson Pickwick, Siasconset MA

“It is interesting to note that there is a black market in used insulin pumps among those without insurance. However the monopoly on “supplies” and the practice of stopping manufacture of the specialized tubing and parts makes surviving without insurance difficult.”–Sue Smith, East Lansing

“I have end stage liver disease related to Hepatitis C. New treatments are available that have a tremendous cure rate. The drug companies have set the price of their treatment is set at $84,000.00 while the actual cost is less than $500.00. I have good insurance but I can’t afford my co-pay to save my life.”–Larry D, Winter Park

“When I was diagnosed with high blood sugar, not yet diabetic, my physician recommended daily blood test to measure glucose level. I went to the recommended diabetic supply store. The measurement tool was free, but the test strips would cost me about $15, after insurance, for 50 strips. My insurance company was billed about $100. I went on Amazon and found the same strips for about the same out-of-pocket cost, which means this company was charging 5 times the retail price. Amazon is now where I get the strips.”–Janet E, Salt Lake City

“I have chronic, and increasingly debilitating, arthritis affecting my thoracic and lumbar spines radiating around and involving my ribs, my hips and my hands. The pain is constant and varies from day to day. It has changed my life. I have chosen not to refill a medicine which would throw me into the doughnut hole. One bottle costs over $200. I cannot afford that and thus my nights have become a restless hell.”–Kathryn Mark, Evanston

“I stayed at a job I hated for 17 years because prior to the ACA, Type 1 diabetes made a person an ‘untouchable’ as far as getting insurance through anyone other other than an employer. I chose not to have children, lest they inherit the propensity for Type 1, like I inherited it from my father, and because I didn’t want to sentence a child to living with an incurable, expensive condition.”–CJ Wolfe, Denver

“I am a type 1 diabetic on a Medtronic pump. My health insurance is covering all the costs associated with my Diabetes. As an American, I find the care provided by the NHS in London far superior on a cost/quality basis than any insurance I had in the US.”–Peter M, London

“I recently had to pay nearly $1,400 for a 3 month supply of insulin. Yes, for type 1, which means I have no options. Yes. I have insurance. Terrible, employer-sponsored insurance.”–Xxx Xxx, Xxx

“My wife has type one and works for a local non-profit. Her pump, meter, and strips, etc. are covered with a nominal HMO co-pay. I would suggest that the commenters here have chosen lousy employers with inferior health plans.”–Mike D, NY

“My husband has neural sarcoidosis and has takenHUMIRA for six years, which was covered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield Standard. The drug halted the increasing loss of feeling in his feet and hands. This year they decided not to cover HUMIRA and suggested he take prednisone, which gave him Diabetes II (which left once he was off the steroids). We are on our third appeal as the out of pocket costs for HUMIRA are about $78,000.00 a year (more than my annual gross salary). He is rationing what we can afford during the appeal process.”–Cheryl D, Rockville MD

“My son developed childhood-onset schizophrenia at age 9. To control his symptoms he relies on daily dosages of an anti-psychotic, Clozaril. After changing insurers, we discovered that Walgreens has been charging us $3450.00 per month for the Clozaril prescription. With the change in insurers our copay jumped to 20% so we were paying $700 per month for the Clozaril drug. We are now filling the prescriptions at Costco and the Clozaril cost has dropped to $2000 per month. Walgreens has been overcharging us $ 1500 per month for some time.”–Edward O, Berkeley Heights

 

One of the comments struck me in particular: ” “To secure those rights governments are instituted amongst men…” One of these rights is freedom from predation. ”  Predation is a good description of what these capitalist corporations are doing to the American public.  Since the patient has no choice but to buy these life-saving or life-preserving treatments, payment of whatever the traffic will bear is predatory.  This is not like buying caviar versus braunschweiger; it is not a matter of taste, but of life or death.

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