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Unfortunately, sadly, heartbreakingly so, there is a dire shortage of medication to treat Childhood Leukemia. … All five pharmaceutical companies that make the injection drug methotrexate, which treats acute lymphoblastic leukemia by slowing the growth of cancer cells, have either slowed and stopped manufacturing of the drug, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The companies have cited “high demand” or “manufacturing delays” as reasons for the shortage.
Where have we seen this before? In the oil industry. “Shut down that refinery until the price rises sky high.”
We have a shortage of life giving medication, one that is isolated to children, one that will tug at the heart-stings of parents.
There is no shortage of raw materials. There is no shortage of manufacturing space. There is no shortage of labor. There is only a shortage, because 5 major pharmaceuticals, all at the same time, chose “not to make” that certain drug….
Now according to Dr. Michael Link, pediatric oncologist and president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, some hospital pharmacies have reported having only a couple weeks of supply left.
Which means that kids start dying in 14 days…….
To counter this, President Obama on October 31, signed an executive order, instructing the Food and Drug Administration to broaden its reporting of potential drug shortages, expedite regulatory reviews that can help prevent shortages, and examine whether potential shortages have led to price gouging. The drug shortage has compromised or delayed care for some patients and may have led to otherwise preventable deaths.
This caused Christopher W. Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, to applaud the signing of the order, saying in a statement that it would “allow government, industry, providers and the public to more systematically analyze and understand the causes of specific drug shortages as they occur, and to develop real-time solutions that are also needed to address the acute problems that cancer patients live with daily.”
But the order does not go far enough.
While the FDA can oversee imports of drugs that are in short supply, it cannot regulate how much a company can make. In fact, manufacturers are not required to report shortages to the FDA.
Isn’t that what Romney touts? Isn’t that Gingrich’s modus operandi, Isn’t that what Santorum lavishs, WE NEED LESS GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION???
Don’t all of them recommend that government needs to slim down, cut back, and get off the backs of business in general to create jobs?
Here is a direct case of that policy in action. There is no government on the backs of Pharmaceuticals. They are completely independent, private, not regulated, and free to decided what drugs to make, and when to make them….
“Oh gee, let’s see… we make 89 cents per pill on our placebos…. and only 64 cents on each bottle of methotrexate…. Let’s close down the meth lab, and instead, make placebos instead….”
Mitt Romney’s philosophy in action…
Because of it, there is now a shortage of highly necessary medications… Ones that have to be had, to maintain life…
(There is no end to the number of Sudafed knockoffs on drugstore shelves)….
Just a look at the top ten prescribed medicines in America, only one, Lipitor, is still under patent. All the others, have lapsed into generic….
The apparent problem is rather simple. In order to chase after profits for your stockholders, for the analysts of CNBC to mention your stock on their show, … you have to sell the top 15 drugs helping 100% of the population, and the 4000 or 5000 people needing your specialty drugs, are simply sick with the wrong disease…
Remember the death panel controversy made up and disseminated by Michelle Bachmann? Well, now, we see the real death panel….
“I’m sorry (not). I know he is your child; I know we have the medicine to keep him normal, I know he will die if he doesn’t get it; I know we could easily makes some in less than 5 days; I know we could have never run short if we had wanted; I know all these things. But, we arbitrarily choose not to make it; your son is out of luck and will be dead in less than two weeks…”
Because you voted for Republicans…. Seriously, if you hadn’t, what would have happened?
In an all Democratic Congress, when this shortage was brought up, legislation would be passed levying extensive fines if the drugs did not reach market by a certain date. The price would include only a ten percent markup. Meaning the pharmaceutical company would not lose on the proposition. How do I know this would work? It was the law of the land for 70 years, until Republicans began selling the concept that letting the market place settle everything, and the FDA got gutted.
Interestingly,…. due to the shortage, black market drugs have materialized…. As soon as a drug hits a shortage level, unreliable distributors pop up offering supplies of suspect origin at highly inflated prices, said Denver based Porter Adventist Hospital pharmacy director, Ryan Stice.
“I have a story about one of these vendors calling on a Friday night, lying to a staff member to get approval for shipment, and sending their products for Saturday delivery to avoid our normal safeguards on bogus shipments and invoicing,” Stice said.
Premier Healthcare Alliance, which published data on drug price-grouging practices last week, said nearly 2,000 sales offers from “gray market” distributors amounted to an average price markup of 650 percent for drugs used to treat cancer and other critical illnesses, as well as sedate patients for surgery, that have been in short supply in recent months.
When pressed, it appears there is little knowledge over where these “grey market” drugs come from. Most speculate that those drugs which are currently being dispensed on the “grey market” come with a majority of their kickback returning to the pharmaceutical companies. It was as if someone in the pharmaceutical business figured out: why sell this drug for $25 dollars when we can create a shortage and sell it for $1200 instead?
“Greed is good”, if you remember the movie Wall Street.
Ironically, the similarities between both Mitt Romney’s hairstyle and philosophy and those in that movie, are extremely uncanny.
If it is your son who is dying, obviously the market place is not where we want to take health-care. Their death panels are far more crooked than any other panel that would occur if we had any other system of medical insurance.
One must wonder why in any debate, not one panalist has yet brought up the question… “Mr. Republican, about your market philosophy…. when it comes to cancer drugs and others that are necessary for life,… there seems to be a problem….”
Then follow up with: “No, it appears you’re wrong there, Mr. Republican Candidate. The obvious solution is for America not to vote for any Republican candidate…”
Beginning next Jan. 1, in most cases, women will have access to birth control at no additional charge through their job-based coverage, as part of a package of preventive services that also includes HIV screening and support for breast-feeding mothers.
This is going to happen: Free birth control. Free HIV screening, and free support for breast-feeding mothers…..
Obviously, only a man would think “Obamacare” is a bad idea…..
President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul provides Medicare recipients in the coverage gap called the “doughnut hole” with a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs this year, and a smaller break on generics. Giving insight into the number of medicined prescribed to this cost segment, that saved seniors $1 billion just in this year alone.
(Which means if a majority of Republicans succeed in being voted in, Seniors themselves will be the ones who need to come up with that $1 billion out of their own pockets.)
Officials said Friday about 2 million people with Medicare saved more than $1.2 billion on prescriptions through the end of September, averaging $550 per person.
So get ready Grandma and Grandpa! If you both are living, together you’ll be paying $1100 more EACH YEAR if Republicans get elected.
$1100 a year….
The biggest category accounting for the savings was diabetes medications. Cholesterol drugs and medications for asthma and other lung diseases came next.
Next year, seniors will get the same 50 percent discount on brand drugs, and a bigger one on generics.
Obama could not have picked a better 2nd man.
This is classic Biden to those of us who have watched him grow over the years… There is of course much denial-ability, so it will never get proven, … but the track marks are there… and I’m beaming, I’m so proud to be a Delawarean today…
If any of you have ever been in a decision making position, most of you know that you are being asked to decide the future of events that on paper you have jurisdiction over, but in reality, are way beyond your control.
The best way to get what you want is to point those larger forces in the direction you want to go,… so they carry you along in their current….
If Democrats and Republicans do not agree to another $1.5 trillion in cuts later this year, then automatic cuts of about $500 billion in both national security and Medicare provider spending will be triggered, beginning in 2013. Republicans think the threat of cutting Medicare will force Democrats to bargain, and Democrats hope that the threat of defense cuts will force Republicans to bargain
But what is really happening is something else: Both Democratic and Republicans leaders have realized that they don’t have enough political heft on their own to cut a deal. So they are pointing a gun to the knee caps of corporate lobbyists for the defense contracting and medical provider communities and saying, “Help us, or else.”
This is the part Biden helped craft….. And this is also the part to which Eric Cantor subscribed, giving him the rare praise of being a “smart man”. John Boehner and President Obama, also joined in….
“Under the agreement, a failure to reach an agreement in December would lead to $50 billion in cuts per year in the 50% national security spending account for the next 10 years. So to save their own skin, military contractors, who spent $146 million lobbying Congress in 2010 with more than $16 million in political donations from PACs, will have to get in the game, urging Republicans to find savings in other places. In practice, that will likely mean new revenue, collected by ending corporate tax breaks and eliminating expenditures. If the plan works as Democrats would like, Republicans will be forced to raise taxes with the help of the military industrial complex.”
Ah Ha! Gotchu!
Oh, but wait a minute….. isn’t there another half?
“The other half of the trigger would cause a 2% decrease in reimbursements for Medicare providers (not recipients), pulling about $50 billion a year off their bottom line for a decade. That means lobbyists for hospitals and doctors will also have a dog in this fight. Hospitals and nursing homes alone spent more $107 million lobbying Congress in 2010.”
“Hospitals have already started running ads on cable television protesting the potential cuts, under the banner of a group called The Coalition To Protect America’s Health Care.”
“Like defense contractors, they are the hostages now, and they must advocate for Democrats and Republicans to come together on a final deal in the fall, before the trigger gets pulled. In the deficit debate, Congress has proved itself inept at fighting for the common interest. In turning the gun on special interests, they are essentially outsourcing that job to Washington’s most effective actors.”
(Btw. Hats off to Michael Scherer; I’ve quoted him rather extensively for his writing was done so well. I could find little to improve upon)…..
Somewhere in the discussion, hopefully over a glass of Maker’s Mark, came this question: how can we make our enemies (the lobbyists) be an integral part of this plan, thereby insuring it will pass?
(Note: Lobbyists are the biggest enemy to good government. Far worse than evangelists, socialists, and communists.)
So the brilliance of this agreement, is that it addresses the question: of how can we get the forces of Eisenhower’s “military industrial complex” who’ve always scuttled budget control in the past, and the forces of the AMA, hospitals, insurance giants, and pharmaceuticals, who’ve always scuttled any attempts to control skyrocketing medical costs, to work together with Republicans and Democrats on controlling the budget deficit…..
We do it by pulling the trigger on a large chunk of their change, if an agreement is not forthcoming……
His good sense didn’t come from Scranton, so it must have been Delaware, that put it in there….
As you may have heard, the Republicans are threatening to “bankrupt the world” by not allowing the world’s largest creditor and lender, to raise the ceiling on it’s own obligations to itself.. It this number does not not raised, eventually our military will stop receiving paychecks, our seniors will stop receiving social security checks, and doctors will stop receiving medicare payments. Likewise, those corporations supplying clips to our soldiers, will likewise not be paid for their past services, perhaps causing those life and death supplies to stop arriving… After all, who would provide service if they knew they wouldn’t get paid?
Even just today, Republicans insist, they will only allow this ceiling to go up if they are able to make drastic cuts in Medicare spending…..
Ok, so this article in Delaware Politics (which incidentally has nothing to do with the debt crises) in it’s attempt to blast health care; implies that Obama’s healthcare is causing a flood of doctors to opt our of Medicare, supposedly because there are no profits in medicine anymore…. At least, that is the scary implication they try to portray….
“Making matters worse, Congress in 1996 capped the number of new doctors Medicare would pay to train. And President Barack Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform proposed cutting Medicare funding for training even further, by $60 billion through 2020. “If this cut is enacted, the doctor shortage would get far worse,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
If read closely, you will see this line…. President Barack Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform proposed cutting Medicare funding for training even further, by $60 billion through 2020..
Who? Barack Obama. What? Cut $60 billion from Medicare….
Isn’t that what the Tea Party Republicans are clamoring for more of in the House? Deeper Medicare cuts are the source of pride in Ryan’s proposed budget? Deeper cuts to Medicare?
And the proposed solution?
“As a start in dealing with the problem, the Obama commission’s recommended cuts in training funds should be set aside, Dr. Herbert Pardes, president and CEO of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, writes in the Journal. “Secondly, the cap enacted in 1996 on training new doctors should finally be lifted. These two steps would go a long way to addressing our country’s medical needs.”
The solution: CUTS SHOULD BE SET ASIDE….. lol..
Isn’t this a situation of “if WE say it’s good it’s GOOD, but if YOU say it’s good, it’s BAD?
So.. here we have an interesting situation: … Republican think tanks, people hired to write papers extolling the nonexistent virtues of Republicanisms, are actually (in print), arguing against the very proposals being negotiated upon by Republicans themselves deep within our budget talks…
IF YOU ALREADY KNOW ITS BAD FOR AMERICA, WHY ARE YOU INSISTING UPON FOLLOWING THROUGH WITH IT?
Oh, that’s right. Only because it makes the bosses who “hired” you, mo’ money; America be damned…
Yesterday the House Ways and Means Committee heard testimony from the head of Medicare and Medicaid, Dr. Berwick.
It began with a series of questioning from a paper he had written in 1996…
1996? Wtf? In it, Dr Berwick described the benefits of the NHS Health Service in Britain. In Gestapo interrogative fashion, Chairman Camp sharply asked if he still believed those thoughts today… “Do you believe the single payer plan is the best plan for health care?” “Did you not say the British Health Service was the ideal form of medical care?” “Did you not wax enthusiasm over this “socialized” medical program?”
To these answers, Dr. Berwick, head of Medicare and Medicaid consistently answered: “each country has their own unique solution to healthcare; our best solution is in the Affordable Health Care Act”.
Fortunately one of the questions asked by Chairman Camp, was incomprehensible… The chamber, spectators, and witness all thought Mr. Camp had suffered a stroke.. Despite the Chairman’s repeated entreaties to answer his question, Dr. Berwick couldn’t. It hadn’t been framed logically. He couldn’t understand it. No one could. Chairman Camp was reading off some incomplete notes, which apparently made sense to him, but, without that aid in front of anyone else, his question was, if politely put, incomprehensible. A page quickly showed up and handed the chairman a sheaf of papers, and Chairman Camp continued: ” your words, you wrote this” and then he mentioned the title, “and it was written by you in 1996….”
1996? You have got to be kidding.. Gee, how long is that? Fifteen years? What even was the beltway’s thought processes at that time. From a medical point of view, we had just come off from the Clinton’s health care debate over reform, one that was squelched by insurance advertising. Dole was campaigning against Clinton, who beat the Republicans rather handily. Back then, I was hauling around the neighborhood children like a soccer mom; now, they’re driving me. This whole idea of tainting people with something said way back in time, with no context involved, is the most stupid of all idiotic attempts to appear smart. It is ridiculous and embarrassing to defame the halls of Congress with it’s tripe. There needs to be a statute of limitations on evidence brought up in Congressional hearings of at least five years, especially if it is being used to damage the credibility of a witness. If anything is over that time frame, the peers of that person need to call him out publicly on his public demonstration of his own stupidity, for even thinking that something said fifteen years ago, even makes an iota of a difference…
So we learned early off, that the Republican debates are not going to be about substance. The rest of the Republican questioning turned out to be nothing more than the repetition of rumors, supposedly told to them by their constituents, all of which were put to rest by the diplomatic Dr. Berwick. So lets define the illogical frame of argument being used by Republicans to overturn all hope for affordable healthcare…. The Republicans send dire predictions out to their constituents about the implications of the Affordable Healthcare Act. Those predictions were hand written by lobbyists for large medical corporations. The citizens then comment on these writings, telling their Congressman if it’s true, then they are afraid of this new Health Care Act, (at functions where only other Republicans are invited), and Republicans bring that back as a mandate to repeal Healthcare…
Another observation: Congress is broken.
Being naive, perhaps I assumed that Congressmen would at least listen to both sides, thereby when voting time came, they could make a balanced decision. What I witnessed was to the contrary. Instead, I saw all the Republican Congressmen walk in, sit down, get called on to speak, ask questions for 4 minutes, then when time had expired, collect their stuff and shuffle down the hall to another meeting…
The House and Ways Committee was practically empty through most of this very important hearing. So how do they vote? Do they read the bills? No! There minds are made up before hand. Nothing said or done within these halls, matters one iota.
Unless of course, America is watching. Then, we need to understand what a menace removing the healthcare act is, and express to each of our representatives, that they too need to understand this, or be unemployed the next term.
Here are the facts.
If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, seniors who received a $250 dollar check in 2010 to cover prescription costs… will have to pay it back!
If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, seniors who would have received a check this year, won’t, and will pay over $500 more for their prescription costs than if Republicans had left the bill alone.
If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, college students up to 26, who use medical coverage since the bills passage, may have to reimburse that amount back!
If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, anyone who got a screening without paying a deductible, could be billed for all amounts charged them had the act never been passed.
If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, anyone who had a pre-existing medical condition and got treatment under the new law in 2010, may be required to reimburse their provider, if that provider could justify they would not have received coverage under the new law.
If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, the national deficit will take a $575 billion increase by 2019, because the cuts that were to go into effect, will not.
If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, everyone’s insurance premiums are estimated to jump 20%, supposedly to cover the private insurers losses this past year.
If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, considerable numbers of people will not be diagnosed early enough for diabetes, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer, or any of the other diseases, where early detection can lead to cheap procedures that prevent far more expensive ones down the road, and whatever happens in 2019… won’t matter to them anyway.
If the Affordable Health Care Act is repealed this year, over half our children in public schools, will not see a doctor, they could have easily afforded it were the law to stay intact.
Guess what else I learned?
Despite Republicans saying the Affordable Health Care Act is the worst law ever created…. people are voting for it with their feet.
People signing up for the Medicare Options are up by 6%. Their numbers were predicted to go down by the actuaries.
Costs are down by 5%. They were predicted to go up by the actuaries.
Apparently, at least based on the feet of Americans, the Affordable Health Care Act is working. In trying hard to find some merit in the Republican antagonism for this great piece of legislation. ( Remember Republicans were against Truman’s Healthcare, were against Johnson’s Medicare, Newt Gingrich boasted Medicare would wither on the vine, were against Clinton’s medical reform, for the record, Republicans have always been trying to kill it) the only explanation I could get from any of them, was philosophical: it was government run.
Puts them in this position: “I don’t care if it saves you money, I don’t care if it decreases the deficit, I don’t care if it provide better health care, I don’t care if it drops costs, i don’t care if it saves more lives, ….. it has the government behind it and for that reason alone, it must be repealed…….”
Yep, that about sums up their argument…. (Of course none of them are willing to give up their own Federal Employee Health Insurance, which carries a subsidy paid for by the Federal Government, which is larger than that paid for any Medicare recipient….. )
So what was to be a tour de force, … as to why affordable health care should be abolished, turned into just the opposite. The more we learned, the more it makes sense….
Here’s hoping they have a lot more hearings on the Affordable Health Care Act.
A couple of exciting trends:
Medicare costs drop.
Medicaid and CHIP increase
State’s Portion of Medicaid and CHIP increase
Out of Pocket Decreases
Employer Sponsored Insurance Decreases: our products are more competitive overseas.
Other Private Health Insurance Drops
Percent of GDP devoted to Health Care climbs 0.1%.
34,000,000 more Americans are insured.
34,000,000 additional Americans receive insurance at a marginal increase of 0.1%.
Democrats win where Republicans failed.