Everyone should know that the costs of pharmaceutical medicines in America are out of control. I’ve used this example several times and it is nothing special, just what millions of Americans experience every time they go to the drug store. A friend found himself suddenly facing a needed life-altering drug that runs him over $1,900 a month.
While I don’t know any of the manufacturer’s arguments for that drug costing so much I can easily assume, and likely be correct, that a degree of excessive profiteering is somewhere in the formula.
I recently became aware of an older couple who came face to face with a common and life-threatening medical condition. The details aren’t germane other than to say, the final costs will well exceed $115,000 and if left without insurance they would find themselves bankrupt.
Being bankrupted by America’s “poorest health care system in the developed world” system is nothing new, it happens countless times each day. Researchers recently learned that over 65% of all bankruptcies in America are tied to medical issues and that over 500,000 families file for medically-related bankruptcies every year.
I recently posted on Facebook some photos of the area around our home. We live in thick woods surrounded by most plants and animals common to our area. That includes an abundance of poison ivy and other things that may make your skin itch.
One of the photos was of our wooden walk from the drive to the screened-in porch at the back of our home. Along the walk is a large tree with English Ivy growing up the trunk. Mixed in with the good stuff is a smattering of poison ivy and a plant named Virginia creeper. Some visitors to the posting seemed to not be able to identify the good from the nasty vegetation so I decided to do a little educating.
The Washington Post recently forced the Drug Enforcement Agency to open up its databases regarding the sale and distribution of prescription pain killers in America. The information can be broken down into states and individual counties and includes the drug manufacturers, distribution companies, and leading pharmacies.
In the State of Ohio during the period 2006 to 2012, there were 3,397,979,780 (billions) prescription pain pills supplied to Ohio’s pharmacies. Here’s a more detailed break down for Highland County and its neighbors. NOTE: Information from 2013 to 2019 is yet to be made public. Also, you may notice the name McKesson as being a major distributor. McKesson is the company who has a distribution center outside Washington Court House.
Highland: From 2006 to 2012 there were 7,388,100 prescription pain pills, enough for 57 pills per personper year, supplied to Highland County, Ohio.
Fayette: From 2006 to 2012 there were 10,553,020 prescription pain pills, enough for 52 pills per person per year, supplied to Fayette County, Ohio.
Clinton: From 2006 to 2012 there were 17,287,730 prescription pain pills, enough for58 pills per person per year, supplied to Clinton County, Ohio.
Ross: From 2006 to 2012 there were 35,275,018 prescription pain pills, enough for 65 pills per person per year, supplied to Ross County, Ohio.
Adams: From 2006 to 2012 there were 12,172,090 prescription pain pills, enough for61 pills per person per year, supplied to Adams County, Ohio
One aspect of American history that is pretty simple to understand is the history of government-sponsored health care. The short and long answers are the same, there hasn’t been much. There was an early program for seaman, another for impoverished former slaves, a little attention given to some mentally ill people, and that’s about it until Medicare and Medicaid were passed in 1965. There were earlier attempts and while progressive health care programs became realities elsewhere in the world the doctors of America, and their American Medical Association were vehemently opposed to what they saw as insidious socialism.
I could easily begin this piece with a list of all the things Trump promised his supporters in 2016 but has failed to deliver on. If I did at the top of the list would have to be that thing about Mexico building a wall and paying for it.
But the wall pales in contrast to the promises he made to provide Americans with a world-class health care system. Early on he promised:
“To repeal Obamacare ‘immediately’ and replace it with ‘something terrific.”
Well, from taking office in 2017 until the Democrats regained the House in 2018, strongly on the issue of health care, Trump and his totally GOP government have miserably failed to do so. It took Obama and the support of every Democrat a full two years to create the less than perfect ACA and despite dozens of GOP bills and court cases, it has been weakened but not erased. And in spite of its weaknesses, millions of Americans do have some level of health care they didn’t have before the ACA.
Yesterday evening a woman told me she just couldn’t understand why Democrats believed in abortion. She thought it was just, “wrong.” It was late and I was too tired to think about it but today is a new day and my brain is rested. So, here’s what I think.
First of all, I’m a Democrat and I basically do not believe abortion is a good thing. To some degree or another, I’ve been bothered by anyone being sexually irresponsible and then using abortion as a means of birth control. After all, forms of condoms and birth control have existed since Roman times and earlier. That said, I don’t think it is my place to tell a woman what is correct for them.
Recently I pulled into the drive-thru at McDonald’s and in front of me was a car with two teenage boys. They weren’t paying attention and keeping up with the line. So, expecting a flock of angry birds I honked my horn. It woke them and from then on they mostly paid attention.
What I noticed, when their heads weren’t bobbing to something I wouldn’t recognize as music, was that both were either smoking cigarettes or vaping. I could fault them for that but at their age, I was on my way to becoming totally nicotine addicted and working my way towards two or more packs a day. The brief experience made me reflect back on my own experiences.
I guess that I began smoking around age twelve, if not younger. That would have been 1954 and I continued smoking until 1982 at age forty when I attended a smoking cessation class and six weeks later snuffed out my devil weed. So, I smoked 28 years and have been smoke-free for 36 years.
In 1954 a pack of cigarettes in New York was .23 cents and I was smoking one or two a day. By 1960, the year I graduated from high school the price was .26 cents and I was consuming a pack a day. In 1982 cigarettes were .82 cents a pack and I was smoking three packs a day and if I went bar hopping on Friday night it would be another two packs for a total of five.
I’ve taken Ambien for years to help me go to sleep. Sleep was never a problem until a couple of back to back surgeries about ten years ago. As many of you know, Ambien has side effects that include sleep walking. We’ve talked about this before and many of you Ambien users have such stories to share.
Anyway, couple of months ago I decided to try something different and my doctor wrote me a script for Lunesta. While it did put me to sleep it left such a horrible aftertaste in my mouth that I just had to give it up and go back to Ambien. So here’s my latest Ambien story.
By whatever name they’re called there are 3,142 counties in the United States. Every single county in the U.S. registered an increase in drug-related mortality between 1980 and 2014. And that rise was statistically significant in 99.8 percent of counties.
The tragedy of these facts and figures is that the obvious failure of what has become known as the War on Drugs can be traced at least back to the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914. The war got heated in 1971 under Nixon and again in the 1980s with Reagan.
RISING DRUG COSTS: Californians have been notified that the cost of generic glaucoma drugs will rise by 64% and one asthma med will increase 50% on May 1. How can such increases be justified and explained?
They say a person is never too old to learn something new and that happens to me often. A couple of months ago I learned that there is an entire world-wide subculture that enjoys videos of people getting their pimples and blackheads extracted by dermatologists. There’s even a dermatologist in California who has become world-renowned by the title, Dr. Pimplepopper. It’s been rumored that there is discussion about her hosting a reality TV show on one of the major cable networks.
A lot of laid off coal miners voted for Trump because he got them to believe in the lie that coal was coming back to Eastern Kentucky and Trump would be driving the lead truck. Well that’s just not going to happen if you believe in reality. There is not a single indicator lending evidence that coal is in out future.
While coal consumption has been dying in America the same has occurred in other nations. China just cancelled the construction of 103 coal-fired generating plants in favor of natural gas. China has stopped importing coal and has laid off tens of thousands of their own miners due to lack of demand.
During the years I taught government another teacher and myself would invite state politicians to discuss our classes about the realities of being a politician. We had both a Democrat and a Republican and they always did a wonderful job.
One question always asked by students was some form of, “How’s come you guys don’t do thus and thus?” The standard answer was always, “OK, I’ll do that, just give me the money.” People want to believe government functions on air and politicians can just wave their hands and things happen. Of course, the reality is that everything takes money and the most common source of money for government is taxes.
I love it when ignorance comes home to bite people on the butt cheek. Such is becoming a frequent reality as the truth of the Trump campaign promises unfold. One example is that 35% of Americans don’t know that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Obamacare are the exact same things. Same thing, different names. Ironically lots of those who supported the conservative right favored the ACA but were dead set opposed to Obamacare.