The High Cost of Medicine


As regular readers know, I have been writing lately about the high cost of medicine and how it is affecting not just our seniors and Medicaid recipients but also the working poor who are struggling to stay off the welfare rolls.

I know a young mother who makes minimum wage, has three children and no health insurance? Yeah, they can always go to Cook County Hospital. But not the way people used to. Now, even the folks at Cook County Hospital want to know how they are going to be paid. This situation is scary for a lot of people and I mean those with and without the Medicaid card.

Now, beginning July 1, instead of paying $1 for each prescription drug, Medicaid recipients will be paying more. It is a shame that something like this can happen in this country. Others are calling this the land of opportunity and we don’t even have a good health care plan for our own elderly. And then programs are being cut for the handicapped, not to mention the problem of affordable housing.

Already a great number of people don’t know if they will be able to eat if they buy medicine. Next it will be, “Where will I sleep?”

Recently, there has been lot of talk about this subject. In fact, Families USA released information showing how prices for popular prescription drugs for seniors rose at three times the rate of inflation last year.

This is sad, given that seniors live on a fixed income, while year after year prescription drugs continue to sky rocket at rates that far exceed inflation. Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said there is no reasonable basis for these alarming price increases.

Generic prescriptions rose 1.8 percent versus 8.1 percent for brand name prescriptions. The prices for name brand drugs rose 4 1/2 times faster than the rate for generics.

It is said that seniors benefit when there are more generics on the market. But what about those seniors who can’t take generics? Many people tell me they want to know when law makers are going to stand up and take notice of this situation and do something about it.

We need help, not just for our seniors but for everyone who has to worry about becoming sick. I will keep writing about this topic because this is one ongoing issue we need help with.

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