Healthcare’s Bad Design
(Column: Ask the Pharmacist)
American healthcare is in a sorry state
Steve Kaufman, RPH
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My articles have blamed Third Party Administrators (TPAs) for healthcare's sorry state. Such companies like Medco and Caremark, runs the plans of the insurance company. I had also written that insurance companies are more concerned with profits than health .I have further claimed that politicians are corrupt, clueless, or afraid to take on these insurance giants.
Now it is time for me to blame one last group. That group is us: We, the People of the United States. Remember those seven words? Those are the first words of our Constitution, a document our forefathers fought and died for. It guarantees us certain rights and freedoms. Such guarantees include our freedom to choose any doctor, pharmacy, or hospital. We also have the right to pay for health insurance and expect the insurance company to pay our claim when we are injured or sick.
Our government, made up of people we voted for, says it doesn't want to get involved in private enterprise. We have seen many examples when the government sticks in its nose where it doesn't belong. Why is it standing by now when intervention is necessary?
Karl Marx, the father of communism, believed a system based on competition doesn't work. Sooner or later, all the companies merge, forming monopolies which control the market. Our government insisted this is not a problem because it is monitoring the healthcare system The government did a great job for two hundred and twenty years. It, however, has looked the other way for the past ten to twenty years.
We live in a capitalist society where market prices are to be determined by competition. Why are most insurance companies exempt from anti-trust regulations designed to prevent monopolies? The insurance companies state that they need these exemptions to keep costs down. These exemptions have not worked! For example, an antifungal cream called Lamisil sold for sixty dollars when it was a prescription covered by insurance. When the drug company moved it to over-the-counter status and it was no longer covered by insurance, the price went down eighty percent! Prilosec is a medicine for acid reflux. When covered by most insurance, it sold for approximately one $125 a month. When off prescription and no longer covered by insurance, it sold for $25 a month. This is again, an eighty percent reduction in cost!
Our country is designed for change. We have had the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Suffrage Movement, and the Civil Rights Movement. From these eras, we have learnt to protest, form unions, and boycott for change. It is now time for a Healthcare Revolution. We must bombard our politicians with protests. We must complain how we are treated by these insurance giants. It's time for us to ask our elected officials for a plan. We must demand straight and direct answers or we vote them out of office.
A basic health insurance policy for a family of four can cost over ten grand a year. For this policy, the insured should be able to choose their own doctor, and get the medicine that their doctor prescribes. They, too, should be able to choose their own pharmacy and hospital. They shouldn't have to mail prescriptions to a mail-order company that the insurance company owns!
Healthcare is expensive, but we can take back control. In 1872, Wisconsin senator Carl Shurtz said, "my country right or wrong." The full quote is, "My country right or wrong, if right to be kept right, if wrong, to be set right." We have to set things right! This country has unbelievable technology.
We have the best doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. We used to have the best healthcare system in the world .We still have the potential. It is up to us, the people of the United States to make a change.
We have a right to quality healthcare; it is our obligation to the system.
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