The American Healthcare System

The American Healthcare System

 President Obama’s JAMA article provided facts and statistics that showed a significant decline in the number of uninsured individuals in the U.S. This provides evidence that the ACA is serving its purpose. What surprised me the most about the JAMA article was  President Obama’s stance on the need for profit checking in relation to drug costs. Many medications that people with rare conditions need are new innovations, and extremely expensive. This is especially true when these new medications have met the FDA’s requirements for exclusivity, and cannot be produced in a generic form. In the article, President Obama supports the creation of legislation that would increase the transparency of manufacturing costs. I believe this legislation is necessary, and will ensure that Pharmaceutical companies are kept in check, so profit does not become greed.

 

 

Personally, I am quite worried about Trump’s promise to repeal the ACA if he is elected into office.  Passing the ACA was a tedious and lengthy task, and if the ACA is repealed we will lose much of the progress we have made in health care reform as a country.

In regards to changes I would like to see in the future, I strongly believe we need a publicly funded/socialized healthcare system as a developed nation. I am certain this will not occur in the near future due to hyper partisanship, but I believe healthcare should be a basic human right, especially in a developed nation like ours.

Second, I would like to see a more reasonable balance between legislation that incentivizes innovation through increased profits, and legislation that keeps medical costs low for the protection of the consumer. “Big pharma” is slowly but surely becoming blatantly profit hungry even when this endangers the lives of others. This has happened many times in the past and continues to happen today.

 

The Turing CEO increased the price of a Daraprim, used to treat toxoplasmosis, from $13.50 a pill to $750 overnight at the end of last year.

The Mylan CEO has slowly raised the retail cost of two Epi-pens from $100 in 2007 to over $600 today. The kicker? All Mylan executives have pocketed multimillion dollar salary increases, and the estimated production cost of the 2 pen unit is about $8.

 

 

Stronger legislation is needed to keep these companies like these in line.

6 thoughts on “The American Healthcare System

  1. I agree, companies such as Mylan and Turing should be kept in check, but the question is how. If we remove protective laws and say anyone can make the epi-pen, then pharmaceutical companies and their scientists would be less inclined to make life saving drugs because they wouldn’t make as large of a profit. It is important to remember that production cost isn’t the only expense; it may cost a pharmaceutical company millions of dollars to research and develop such a revolutionary drug. Some may argue that to keep the protection laws but limit the company’s profit margin would go against our country’s capitalistic ideals. There really is no clear-cut solution in my opinion.

    1. Andrew,

      You bring up a great, but very difficult point. I think this is going to be a key question as we think about the future of health care in the pharma & devices industry. How do we promote innovation without creating a system where only very wealthy people can afford these (often lifesaving) technologies?

  2. I agree with you on your statement that profit should not become greed, especially in terms of healthcare. When the development and distribution of life-saving products turns into a profit-hungry business, the availability and access to these products decreases. Though I definitely see Andrew’s point, I support Obama’s notion to better regulate drug costs. In my opinion, the cost of health care and health insurance is one of the primary issues. A large majority of the people who do not have insurance is due to a steady increase in the cost of insurance. Furthermore, these people struggle to afford necessary health care due to an increasing cost of drugs and service. Relating back to Andrew’s comment, I agree that cost is a major issue with an unclear resolution.
    When it comes to the election, I agree that Trump’s idea to repeal the ACA seems counterproductive. After learning about how incredibly long it took to make progress in health care reform, I cannot understand how it would be effective to start at a clean slate and spend years trying to pass a new plan. There are flaws in the health care system, but I believe they should be altered by building on top of the foundation we already have. With this approach, the system can be strengthened without taking steps backward.

  3. I totally agree that pricing for drugs is a huge problem within our healthcare system. “In 2013, per capita spending on prescription drugs was $858 compared with an average of $400 for 19 other industrialized nations.” This drastic difference shows that it is possible for prescription drugs to be affordable. Why then, is it so expensive in the US? After reading some statistics, I noticed that drugs in the US are far more branded than those of other countries. With the addition of brand name and prestige comes increased price. Generic drugs could help with this monopoly, but numerous legal and business strategies by the pharmaceutical companies strive to block the availability of generic drugs.

    With net spending on prescription drugs increasing approximately 20% between 2013 and 2015, the United States really needs to address its prescription drug price issue before it’s too late.

    Source of Statistics:
    http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2545691

  4. There are definitely a lot of problems with our healthcare system, but ultimately it is the cost of care that prevents people from receiving the attention they deserve. Insurance alone is a huge expense, whether it be to employers or to individuals. Then adding the cost of prescriptions to that cost makes recovery and further prevention unattainable for many people. The current monopoly of pharmaceuticals has to change. I don’t claim to be an economist, so I don’t know how to solve the problem, but based on the examples of other countries that Monna provided in her comment, there must be a better solution for the United States.

    Neither Donald Trump, nor Hillary Clinton, have so far proposed a very likely plan to ameliorate the current situation. The biggest distinction between their two plans is the fact that Trump would attempt to repeal the ACA, while Clinton would try to amend it. Out of those two proposals, I think Clinton’s would be the most beneficial, since Trump’s would undo decades of work in healthcare reform.

  5. I also was very impressed by President Obama’s JAMA article. I did not realize how well the ACA was working. I formerly did not have an opinion on the matter but I think the ACA is great thing for our country and we need to keep it.
    I am also worried about Donald Trump repealing the ACA. I think we would be taking a step back as a nation and making it harder for people to have healthcare. Healthcare is something that people need and certain factors should never get in the way of a necessity.
    I remember when I saw how the price of Epi-Pens went up and I was so shocked. I just did not understand how someone could make a lifesaving tool impossible for some to get by raising the price so much. Things like that should not be able to happen and I agree that pharmaceutical companies need to be regulated.

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