Those Damn High Drug Prices

The health care debate is silent for now….but it will return if Congress has its way……

Whenever the subject of a health care bill comes up one of the first issues they talk about but never do anything about is that of the High Cost of Drugs.

But who can we blame for the high costs?

First of all Bill Clinton…..and then on from him….

Why do Americans continue to pay the highest prices for medicine in the world? The answer lies in the fact that lawmakers have sculpted specific policies, often not found in many other nations, that boost pharmaceutical industry profits. Meanwhile, the drug industry has spent $61 million on state elections and nearly $67million on federal elections since 2010.

Amid rising public anger over the issue, Republican President Donald Trump campaigned for president on a promise to reduce drug prices — and, as recently as Monday, excoriated Merck & Co. CEO Ken Frazier, demanding that he “LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!” Democrats, in the meantime, have long depicted themselves as fight-for-the-little-guy populists crusading against pharmaceutical industry fat cats.

However, key players from both parties have made pivotal decisions at the federal and state levels that have kept drug prices high — and pharmaceutical industry profit margins wide. As part of International Business Times’ ongoing coverage of the fight over drug prices, what follows is a look at six of those individuals, and how their actions have shaped America’s prescription drug market.

Source: Why Are Drug Prices So High? These Politicians Might Have The Answer

Now you know why we pay more for drugs than anyone in the world and thanx to the system these people set up….we will always pay more than they are worth.

Who will step up and make the high cost of drugs a priority?  The Dems?  Of maybe the GOP?

Closing Thought–11Aug17

Can You Hear That?

Ever read a news story that made you stop and think?

The one that caught my attention was the story of hearing loss by some American diplomats and some of Canada as well…..a fascinating thing indeed….

A duty station in Cuba could be hazardous to your hearing…..

The Canadian government said Thursday that at least one Canadian diplomat in Cuba has been treated for hearing loss, following disclosures that a group of American diplomats in Havana suffered the same. US officials believe they were caused by an advanced sonic device, per the AP. Global Affairs Canada spokeswoman Brianne Maxwell said Canadian officials “are aware of unusual symptoms affecting Canadian and US diplomatic personnel and their families in Havana” and were working to figure out the cause. In the fall of 2016, US diplomats began suffering unexplained losses of hearing, according to officials with knowledge of the investigation. Several were recent arrivals at the embassy, which reopened in 2015 as part of President Obama’s reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Some of the US diplomats’ symptoms were so severe that they were forced to cancel their tours early and return to the United States, officials said. After months of investigation, US officials concluded that the diplomats had been attacked with an advanced sonic weapon that operated outside the range of audible sound and had been deployed either inside or outside their residences. It was not immediately clear if the device was a weapon used in a deliberate attack, or had some other purpose. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the US retaliated by expelling two Cuban diplomats from their embassy in Washington on May 23. The Cuban government said that “Cuba has never permitted, nor will permit, that Cuban territory be used for any action against accredited diplomatic officials or their families, with no exception.”

Investigations on-going but how will they determine what the cause is or who is behind this attack?

Time to start the weekend….hope all my readers have a wonderful couple of days….chuq

“Reversible” Abortion?

I am about to post on a subject that I do not normally do so…..abortion.

I guess we could say the this is a PSA (Public Service Announcement) or maybe even an FYI piece…..

I leave this subject alone for the most part because it is a personal decision and in that matter I have no say…..since I will never have to make that decision then my opinion means nothing as does everyone else….if it is not your choice then silence is advised.

But occasionally I read something while doing research that I feel I need to post it here on IST…..and yesterday was one of those days…..

I think everyone knows that there is a “morning after” pill….will there is a doctor that convinces people that he can nullify the effects of the pill……

George Delgado made his first attempt at reversing an abortion in 2009.

He got a call from Terri Palmquist, a missionary at the evangelical group LifeSavers Ministries who ran in the same California anti-abortion circles he did. Palmquist said she’d gotten a call from a young woman in El Paso, Texas, who had taken the abortion pill, a common method for ending a pregnancy, but changed her mind. The woman wanted to know if there was any way to reverse the effects of the pill. Palmquist turned to Delgado, a family practice doctor in San Diego, seeking advice.

Delgado had never heard of anyone “reversing” a medical abortion before, but he had an idea for how to try. A medical abortion comes in the form of two pills: Mifepristone, the first, works by blocking the hormone progesterone and preventing a pregnancy from continuing. Misoprostol, the second pill, is taken 24 to 48 hours later to cause contractions that empty the uterus.

Source: Meet the doctor who convinces women he can “reverse” abortions – VICE News

Take away what you like from this piece…..I posted it only as a public service…/.I am sure that there are those rabid anti people waiting for something to write about….well Irene here it be….knock yourself out.

Bi-Partisan Health Care

Last week the GOP health care plan went down in flames….thanx to 3 brave Repubs….now there is scrambling to find a new health care plan…

News has come out that there could be a bi-partisan attempt at a repair….

“Centrist lawmakers plot bipartisan health care stabilization bill,” by Heather Caygle and Paul Demko: “A coalition of roughly 40 House Republicans and Democrats plan to unveil a slate of Obamacare fixes Monday they hope will gain traction after the Senate’s effort to repeal the law imploded. The Problem Solvers caucus, led by Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), is fronting the effort to stabilize the ACA markets, according to multiple sources. But other centrist members, including Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), and several other lawmakers from the New Democrat Coalition and the GOP’s moderate Tuesday Group are also involved.

“Their plan focuses on immediately stabilizing the insurance market and then pushing for Obamacare changes that have received bipartisan backing in the past. The most significant proposal is funding for Obamacare’s cost-sharing subsidies. Insurers rely on these payments – estimated to be $7 billion this year – to reduce out-of-pocket costs for their poorest Obamacare customers.” http://politi.co/2vdbyY7

Sounds good?

To my mind any time that something can be accomplished with the help of both Houses then it is a good day for the Republic.

Then there is Bernie’s promise to introduce a “single payer” system….

As Senate Republicans go back to the drawing board on the proposed Obamacare repeal, Sen. Bernie Sanders has swung the national healthcare debate to the other side of the pendulum. The Vermont Independent says he’ll “absolutely” introduce a single-payer bill to the Senate, reports the Hill. Sanders didn’t give a timeline for the proposed bill, but told CNN’s Jake Tapper on State of the Union that, “We’re tweaking the final points of the bill and we’re figuring out how we can mount a national campaign to bring people together.” According to CNN, the senator admitted that the Republican-controlled Congress wouldn’t be the only obstacle in passing such a bill. Special interest groups all but sank Vermont’s bid to enact a single-payer system, he said, and would make such a proposal difficult to pass.

“Taking on the insurance companies and the drug companies, taking on Wall Street, taking on a lot of very powerful forces that make billions of dollars a year from the current health care system is not going to be easy,” he said, “and it’s not going to take place until millions of people get involved in this struggle.” Per the Hill, a spokesperson for Sanders called a single-payer amendment attached to the ObamaCare repeal Wednesday a “sham.” President Trump tweeted support for repeal Sunday morning, writing, “Don’t give up Republican Senators, the World is watching: Repeal & Replace…and go to 51 votes (nuke option), get Cross State Lines & more.” But Sanders isn’t taking the bait: “If people don’t like the private insurance that they’re getting, they should have a Medicare-type public option available in every state in this country.”

Neither will go far but at least there is an attempt at a repair job….not something as moronically simplistic as a slogan like “repeal and replace”…..

I wish them both luck for they will need it.

Latest Health Stories

Today my daughter’s family will join me and my better half for burgers on the grill…..my daughter and I will probably argue politics and stuff….great fun!

If this was not a Saturday then these words would be about the new health care bill….but since it is the weekend the post will be about the findings in the fields that deal with Health and medicine….

In the past we have heard a lot about the connection between football, concussions and death….well there is a hew study of the brains of 111 football players…..

Research on 202 former football players found evidence of brain disease in nearly all of them, from athletes in the NFL, college, and even high school. It’s the largest update on chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a brain disease linked with repeated head blows. CTE was diagnosed in 177 former players or nearly 90% of brains studied, but the report, published Tuesday in JAMA, doesn’t confirm that the condition is common in all football players. Rather, it reflects high occurrence in samples at a Boston brain bank that studies CTE. Many donors or their families contributed because of the players’ repeated concussions and troubling symptoms before death, reports the AP.

That includes 110 of 111 brains from former NFL players; 48 of 53 college players; nine of 14 semi-professional players, seven of eight Canadian Football league players, and three of 14 high school players. The disease was not found in brains from two younger players. The average age of death among all players studied was 66. There were 18 suicides among the 177 diagnosed. “There are many questions that remain unanswered,” says lead author Dr. Ann McKee, a Boston University neuroscientist: “How common is this” in the general population and all football players? “How many years of football is too many?” and “What is the genetic risk? Some players do not have evidence of this disease despite long playing years,” she notes.

Maybe keeping your children from playing the sport would help prevent a lot of the concussion problems….just a thought.

For well over 50 years there has been lots of research into the different strains of cancer and its cure….a recent study on cancer came to some pretty amazing conclusions…….

Cancer is a man-made disease fuelled by the excesses of modern life, a study of ancient remains has found.

Tumours were rare until recent times when pollution and poor diet became issues, the review of mummies, fossils and classical literature found.

A greater understanding of its origins could lead to treatments for the disease, which claims more than 150,000 lives a year in the UK.

There you have the updates in the health field….now go have a good day and enjoy some time to yourself……
See you guys tomorrow…..chuq

The Health Care Deliberation

This has been a debate in DC since MacArthur was a private…..Obama had some success (if you could call it that) and now the GOP is trying desperately trying to make good on their slogan of “repeal and replace” (and that is not going well at all)….

All this jockeying for position is just the game of political ownership……the best way to put an end to the BS is to adapt to a Medicare for all….and it looks like it is approaching……

Senators are back at work Monday, and their No. 1 priority remains trying to craft an alternative to ObamaCare. The problem is that Mitch McConnell’s task of getting the necessary 50 votes seems to have gotten only more difficult over the holiday break, and that’s raising a slew of stories about what happens if the GOP bill fails. Shoring up ObamaCare is one possibility, but another is the controversial idea of some kind of single-payer system. The long-shot concept, anathema to conservatives, is surfacing more and more in stories:

  • Definition: Under a single-payer system, “doctors and hospitals are mostly private entities, but are paid exclusively by the government,” explains a primer at Mother Jones. “Canada is single-payer, with each province acting as the sole source of payment to doctors and hospitals. In the US, Medicaid and traditional Medicare are single-payer.”
  • Tax hikes: Everybody would get core coverage regardless of income, job, or health status, explains Money, and people would no longer get insurance through their jobs. But paying for it would surely require new tax increases of some kind.
  • Sanders, and others: The concept is gaining traction among Democrats, reports the Hill. Bernie Sanders promises to introduce a bill when debate ends on the GOP ObamaCare alternative. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand back the concept, and in the House, a “Medicare for All” proposal by Rep. John Conyers has 113 co-sponsors. Warren, specifically, told the Wall Street Journal last month that “now it’s time for the next step, and the next step is single payer.”
  • Please, no: Putting bureaucrats in charge of health care isn’t the answer, writes Sally Pipes at Forbes. “Single-payer systems have endangered lives and reduced access to quality care everywhere they’ve been implemented,” she notes, citing “deplorable care” in Britain and Canada and arguing that if Republicans needed any incentive to make progress on their health bill, the prospect of a single-payer system should do it.
  • California: A bill to shift to a single-payer system stalled last month in the California Assembly, and the Los Angeles Times reports that a main reason is that it was “short on key policy specifics—most significantly, how to pay for it.”
  • Partisan divide: A Pew Research Center poll finds that 52% of Democrats support the single-payer idea, but the overall percentage in support drops to 33 when Republicans are added, reports CNN. For that reason, both sides seem to love talking about it, notes the story.
  • Senate GOP plan: It’s not dead yet, though the positions of conservatives and moderates within the GOP seem to have hardened in the last week, reports Politico. That makes McConnell’s quest for a compromise acceptable to enough senators exceedingly difficult.

Of course the biggest sticking point is just how will the program be funded?

The notion of a single government-run insurance plan — known as “single-payer health care” to wonks, and “Medicare-for-all” to advocates — has made an enormous comeback in progressive circles in the wake of the 2016 presidential election.

Bernie Sanders made this a core issue of his stronger-than-expected primary campaign, and longstanding legislation from Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) to create a single-payer system has garnered more co-sponsors than ever before. Democrats in the California State Senate mustered a two-thirds supermajority in favor of a single-payer health care system, and the New York State Assembly has done the same. Elizabeth Warren endorsed single-payer health care recently, and more senators are speaking warmly, if somewhat vaguely, about it. Sanders himself is expected to unveil legislation once the GOP’s plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act either succeed or fail.

Source: The real reason single-payer health care is hard to pay for – Vox

I have always thought that a single payer would be the best and most equitable way to health care…..nothing has changed on my thinking.

Did Health Care Find A Fix?

Well Obamacare has been in the news a lot since January….House has it version of the “repeal/replace” thing….as does the Senate….neither of which has been found to be anything resembling good.

The “Mouth of the Senate”, Ted Cruz, may have hit upon a fix for the stand-off…..that’s right is said the Tea Party darling, Ted Cruz, may have hit upon a solution to the problem…..

Ted Cruz could be the one to push an ObamaCare repeal and replacement through the House and Senate, the Hill reports. A GOP aide says the Congressional Budget Office is looking at two versions of the Better Care Reconciliation Act—one of which contains an amendment by Cruz that is getting support from moderate and conservative Republicans in the House and Senate. The Cruz amendment would allow insurance providers to sell any kind of policies they wanted—as long as they also sold at least one policy that complies with ACA requirements. Those requirements include covering maternity care and mental healthcare and not charging sick people more for insurance.

Under the Cruz amendment, Americans without health risks could buy cheaper, non-comprehensive plans, while Americans with health problems could buy the more expensive, ACA-compliant plans, the New York Times reports. Government subsidies for those ACA-compliant plans would be available to people making less than $42,000 or so per year. Conservative Republicans like the plan because “it gives everybody some options,” while moderates like that it semi-preserves protections for pre-existing conditions. But experts warn such segmenting leads to expensive and volatile insurance markets. Meanwhile, as his amendment is being considered, Cruz was nearly shouted down during a Fourth of July speech by protesters upset with his healthcare efforts, the Texas Tribune reports.

What are the chances that this person has found the key to a possible compromise?

The CBO scoring may be the answer to my question.
Thoughts?