The Stop Ripping Off Patients Act. The Drug Prices Anti-Gouging Act. The Don’t-Charge-Me-$50-For-An-Aspirin Act. These are some bill titles voters would actually understand. We should start using them.
Long before Trump, long before the term “click-baiting” was even invented, the GOP has been very good at churning out polemic titles like “Repeal Job-Killing Obamacare.” It’s time Democrats and Independents take note of these polemics, as well propose to fix the real problem with our health care system: cost.
Medicare is unable to bargain in bulk for drug prices like private pools. Canada cannot re-import safe generic drugs into the US. Middlemen parasites mark up life-saving devices like the Epipen to the point there are unaffordable. Hip replacements and gall bladder removal are double, triple, or more than European countries.
The Medicare-for-All offered by Bernie Sanders probably not happen in my lifetime. But it might, if underlying prices are drastically reduced. To be fair, Obamacare never really tackled this, either. The “spend a dollar to save two dollars” idea to encourage preventive care has been great for increasing health care access. But it doesn’t save money. You haven’t saved money, only spent it.
You can’t just press the “easy” button. Only the hard work is left, and that starts with challenging Big Pharma and Big Medical, capping their drug and medical prices, banning their abuses, and telling their lobbyists to take their campaign donations and use them as a suppository. So far, neither party has had the gall stones to do this at the federal level, and remain enthralled to the “free-market” cult-of-capitalism worship pushed by aforementioned lobbyists. Want a great real market pro-competition solution? Give private (Blue Cross, Aetna, etc.) and public insurers (Medicaid and Medicare) the legal and financial power to tell medical providers to keep their devices and procedures safe and cheap, or they will take their business to another provider. Let the providers experience the downside of capitalism just as they enjoy all the upsides:
The Washington Post has good article on how states like Vermont, Arkansas and Maryland are trying to shift from a more-pills-is-better mentality to an actually-treat-the-patient mentality.
The National Review has a decent right-leaning article with more-or-less-accuracy supply-and-demand dark forces in housing and health care. But take it with previously mentioned boulder of salt: more houses, condos, pills and doctor visits are not necessarily better.
Paying $50 for an aspirin is ludicrous. Paying $100 for a bed gown is insane. However, if the hospital fixes the back of the gown so my ass is not hanging out, I might settle for paying $75.