- Posted February 24, 2013 by
Good Luck with healthcare reform
Yes, the hospitals overcharge and Medicare is paying happily; healthcare reform thinks after organizing healthcare hospital systems, it will negotiate and squeeze hospitals, cutting down payments; wish the idea good luck since the hospitals will find a way to counter and get money from medicare by pushing doctors to do more and more. Medicare continues to pay hospitals their marked-up bills; for private practitioners, medicare pays about $600 for intravenous iron infusions but pays hospital systems $3900 happily. The cost of care has increased appoximately four to fivefolds with hospital based services that were previously rendered in the community. There were alarms raised in certain states about the increase in cost of healthcare since hospital systems took over but such noice dies off locally before getting to national stage.
When the president mentioned about shortening the patent cycle and letting generic medications come about a few years earlier at the House level in 2008-2009, pharmaceutical industry lauched a massive campaign and by the time healthcare bill hits Senate level, there was no discussion on the patent issue. Pharmaceutical industry is breaking the bank in this country but the lobby is too strong for the country to push back. Al is a patient with kidney cancer who was prescribed Afinitor, a new drug that has been approved recently for common type of breast cancer that has spread; Al received a bill from Novartis, the pharmaceutical company early this year that for 30 pills, Novartis expects medicare to pay $8700 and demands Al to pay $2200 per month; Al was almost to tears to see the bill since his life depends on this medicine to control the cancer. Similarly, all new medications for treatment of cancer charges extranomical amounts, on average $8000 (Thalidomide, Revlimid for multiple myeloma from Celgene) to $10,000 plus (Zelboraf for melanoma from Genentech) even though some of the drugs are being out in the market for more than 5 years with enormous amount of profit made by the pharmaceutical company.
With this kind of short-sighted, uneven efforts at the healthcare reform, it is the consumers, i.e., poor patients are the ones who suffer the most. Sean Recchi story is the one that has made to the surface attracting some attention but it will be drowned out again by the noise and inaction at the legislative level.