Did you know it’s not legal for Medicare to negotiate the Price of Medicine?
First, it’s very important that we understand our system as it appears that there may be a big difference between Capitalism and a Free Market. My understanding is that the U.S. prides itself on being a free market system. The question, then, is why are medicines not included in this free market? They do appear to be a part of Capitalism, but not in a way most of us would think was ethical or acceptable.
One of the largest purchasers of drugs in the U.S. is the Medicare system. In 2003 Congress passed an act that made it illegal for Medicare to negotiate drug prices. YES, you read that right. In the “Medicare Modernization Act of 2003” Congress banned negotiations for drug prices for the Medicare system. What this means is that drug peddlers in the U.S. can command any price they want from Medicare, and guess what? The U.S. government has to pay for it with all those little pennies they’ve been pulling out of your paycheck every time you get paid.
Wait a minute? The government keeps telling us that the Medicare system is going broke and they’re trying to fix it. Does it look like they’re trying to fix it with bills like that?
You might ask: How could that happen and why don’t they change it?
Big Pharma spent a little over $240,000,000 on lobbying those 535 Congressman in 2016.
What do they do to convince congress to vote for something like this? I’m not sure, but you figure it out. They have 1389 lobbyists performing the duties for the Congressman, and about 900 revolvers. For those of you that don’t know what a revolver is, it’s a person who goes from working for a company to working inside the government as a civil servant, or vice versa. One might be an expert on some area of the government, then go to work for the pharmaceutical company as a lobbyist in order to effect changes.
So while Big pharma is taking that money that you spent on drugs and convincing Congress that they should be able to charge whatever they want we wonder why we’re all getting poorer, but prices keep going up, and the Congressman seem to only get richer.
If it feels like you’re getting screwed, it’s because you are. The worst part is, we’re paying them to screw us.
From 1998 to 2017 (the last 19 years) Here’s how much money we paid them to screw us.
Of the money we paid for medicine: $3,714,580,815, that’s 3.7 billion spent on lobbying Congressman.
Of the money we paid to hospitals and nursing homes: $1,525,067,763, that’s 1.52 billion spent on lobbying Congressman.
Of the money we paid for insurance: $2,579,796,902, that’s 2.58 billion spent on lobbying Congressman.
I ask, what in the hell are they doing for Congressman with that much money?
No wonder healthcare is so expensive. We’ve got to pay for them to bribe congress to let them charge whatever they want, and we have to pay them when they charge us whatever they want. This is our money that they’re spending. Why do we allow this to happen?
Imagine two things for me.
1.) A free market system where we force Drug companies to price compete
2.) Taking all that lobbying money, and putting it towards taking care of sick people, which is what healthcare used to be about. (It’s been a few years, but it really was)
I would suggest, our system needs some changes because, really, our healthcare system is ranked pretty low in the world at 37h, and costing us twice what any other country in the world costs. Any suggestions?
Data from Center for Responsive Politics/opensecrets.org