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    The GOP's mission to keep gove..., 2009-08-23 11:44:16 | Main | clowning around..., 2009-08-24 15:41:55

    how much does it cost to sell out to PhRMA?:

    The O'ministration and the big drug companies may have actually worked out a way for the drug companies to support Obamacare, namely by forcing more customers onto private insurance rolls so they can buy drugs at the same old artificially inflated prices. Everybody denies it, apparently, but that doesn't matter if drug price negotiations aren't included in the final bill, as whether or not the largest health insurers (medicare,medicaid) in the country can negotiate drug prices is how we can assess whether we're being taken for a ride. Let's do some back of the back-of-the-google estimation:

    Prescription drug costs make up "a modest part of total health care spending in the U.S (11%)", which is a modest 242 billion dollars a year. The old proposal Obama was supporting during the campaign was to introduce the classic free market approach of haggling: for example, the Veteran's Administration haggles with the drug companies to bring prices down, while by law Medicare is forced to shop at the patented price. Hence "the lowest price offered by any Medicare prescription drug plan was at least 48.2 percent higher than the lowest price available through the VA". The VA is able to haggle the price down by a bout a third, thanks to the wonders of market forces. Pretty impressive!

    The VA is providing coverage for 7.9 million veterans, or 3% of the insured population. Discounting those in the VA that already enjoy the benefit of VA haggling, then, the amount by which everybody else would save on drug costs if they too bickered with their dealers would be roughly $158 billion a year, if I can do basic arithmetic anymore.

    This is over 50% more just in savings on prescription drug costs than what it's supposed to cost per year to provide health coverage to 50 million uninsured Americans through a "private" health insurance racket that is even more bloated, inefficient, and bureaucratic than the drug companies.

    In exchange for $158 billion, the drug companies loudly promised to reduce costs by $80 billion. That's a pretty sweet deal, since they'll be gaining access to 50 million more potential customers.

    I'm beginning to think that the only solution to conservative dementia over what constitutes "socialism" is to impose universal conscription. By turning everyone in the country into a veteran we could then provide universal Veterans Administration health insurance at a massive savings. Figuring we could bring our healthcare spending in line with other industrialized countries this way, we'd spend 50% what we do per-capita and save about 1.1 trillion dollars a year. Anybody who opposes this plan is fiscally irresponsible, doesn't support the troops, and hates America. Plus we wouldn't have to listen to harangues about how haggling isn't allowed in a free market.


:: posted by buermann @ 2009-08-24 12:11:31 CST | link





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