Mike’s Notes: Well, the hypocrites in congress, which are most of them, have done it again. While both Republicans and Democrats are campaigning on lowering health care costs, they have listened to their real bosses, the health care lobby, and are going to allow costs to rise even further. This stab in our collective backs is the result of a bipartisan effort. It is sad that the one thing that a majority of both parties can agree upon is to put their own interests above those of the American people.
Health care debt is the number one reason for bankruptcy in the United States. In poll after poll, cost of health care always rates as one of the top concerns.
Many hospitals are now filing lawsuits to collect their exorbitant fees from those who have no way to pay them. Their paychecks are being garnisheed or in some cases they are put in jail with the amount of bail being set at what they owe. Debtor’s prisons have been illegal for over a hundred years but clever lawyers have figured out that if a judge issues a judgement and it is not followed, the debtor can be jailed for “contempt of court.” In many of these cases the person is not even aware that they owe the money thinking that it has been paid by insurance.
Big Pharma has taken greed to new levels in recent years, gouging those who really have no choice since they would die without the proper medication.
Last week, the FDA approved a new drug to aid in the treatment of cystic fibrosis, a very serious and debilitating disease. In tests this new drug is showing a lot of promise for many suffering patients. This is good, but one year of treatment with this drug will cost $300,000. How many people can afford this? For those with good insurance, how many bean counters at the insurance company will approve this cost?
I have a relative who is a type 1 diabetic and she must have insulin injections every day to stay alive. The insulin that she takes was developed in the 1930s using basic research paid for by the US government. She has to pay $800+ a month for her insulin. Talk about a return on investment. The drug company recouped their development costs over 70 years ago and production costs are tiny.
If an individual loaded his pickup truck with cases of water, drove to a disaster site and tried selling them for $30 per case, he would, rightly, be charged with profiteering but a multi-billion dollar company has the political influence to avoid this.
I could site many other examples and I am sure that most of you have your own horror stories or know people with them.
Jeff Stein, Yasmeen Abutaleb – Washington Post
Vilified by lawmakers from both parties for months, the health-care industry this year appeared to face an existential threat to its business model.
But this week, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, insurance companies and medical device manufacturers practically ran the table in Congress, winning hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks and other gifts through old-fashioned lobbying, re-exerting their political prowess.
“It’s the ‘no special interest left behind bill’ of 2019. That’s what it feels like this is,” said Andy Slavitt, a former health administrator who served in the Obama administration. “There’s no other explanation.”
The health industry’s December wins
Surprise medical billing law enacted Idea shelved
Medical device tax goes into effect Tax repealed
‘Cadillac’ tax goes into effect Tax repealed
Health insurance tax enacted Tax repealed
Bipartisan drug pricing bill enacted Bill shelved
Support came from virtually every corner of Congress.
A bipartisan push to curb the practice of surprise medical billing was delayed until next year, with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) working behind the scenes to raise objections to the package, according to three people familiar with the talks who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share details of private negotiations.
A bipartisan bid to rein in prescription drug prices failed to advance, as Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) blamed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for blocking the effort.
Pharmaceutical firms also won extended protections for select patents, as lawmakers tucked 17 words into Page 1,503 of a bill that critics allege could amount to billions more in profits for the industry.
And through a flurry of letters and targeted meetings with freshman House Democrats, the health-care industry ginned up broad support for repealing taxes that were central to the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), one of the law’s architects, agreed to go along.
The success shows how formidable the health-care industry remains, able to overwhelm Democrats with well-honed talking points and splinter Republicans through a concerted push.
Michael Chester is retired from his career in industrial technology. After graduating from college, he taught this subject until deciding that he preferred doing the job himself more than teaching it. At various times during his career, he has designed, built, installed, and repaired industrial manufacturing machinery. His specialty was in electrical and electronics controls.
After retiring, he concentrated more on his hobby of cooking and attended one of the top culinary schools in the US. Mike competed in bass fishing tournaments for several years, but had to leave the sport due to an injury. As a certified barbecue judge he gets to taste some of the best BBQ in the country and help select the winner. It is a tough job, but someone has to do it. He lives with his wife of over 30 years, has 3 adult children and 2 grandchildren.