Rochelle News-Leader | Medical costs in the United States are ridiculous


It has become common for us to see our friends on social media running GoFundMe campaigns for health issues. This is a very sad reality in 2022.

The older I get, the more I see it. This includes people who have medical insurance and have worked for decades. We have to face the fact that medical costs in the United States are ridiculously high, and even the best insurance is no cure for that.

A particularly expensive area is prescription drugs. I know people who take prescriptions that cost hundreds or even thousands a month. There are too many people in this country who have to decide whether to pay for their medicine or their food in any given week.

It makes me sad and angry.

But Congress will do nothing about it. Pharmaceutical companies have very deep pockets, so those lobbying dollars are not something members of Congress want to do without. In fact, two-thirds of Congress — 302 House members and 72 senators — cashed checks from the pharmaceutical industry ahead of the 2020 election, a survey has found.

We’re talking about Republicans and Democrats across the country.

It’s hard for ordinary Americans who barely manage on a day-to-day basis due to the high cost of often life-saving drugs to have their voices heard. In Washington, money talks.

There have been many stories about the same drug costing $100 in the US and only $12 in Mexico or Canada. There are many reasons – more competition, government subsidies, less regulation – but clearly there are huge cost differences.

This is why people cross the Mexican (or Canadian) border to buy cheap prescription drugs or to undergo medical or dental procedures. It is less expensive. Some people might want a wall along our southern border, but many others want a pipeline for affordable prescription drugs.

Somebody do something about it. A politician? No. Doctor ? No. Actually, it’s Mark Cuban. Recognize the name? He’s the billionaire owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, and he recently launched an online pharmacy aimed at driving down the price of prescription drugs.

I had read something about it last year, but had forgotten about it until I read a few stories on the site over the past week. It will sell generic drugs purchased directly from manufacturers. Medications will be sold online with a 15% markup and fee. I’ve read that pharmaceutical companies usually mark up their prices by at least 100%. Often it is much more.

How much will the savings be? From what I’ve read, this could be considerable. For example, a common cholesterol drug that sells for $55 will be sold on the site for less than $4. A drug used to treat leukemia that sells for more than $9,000 a month will sell for $47 a month.

I’m not shilling for the new site, but just pointing out a few things. First, this is good news for many Americans who struggle under the weight of expensive prescriptions. Second, we need to do something about the health care system in this country.

We cannot count on a single billionaire to save us. Most can’t even bother to pay their fair share of taxes. But Congress has to do something, and we have to make sure it does.

Brad Jennings is the editor of Ogle County Life.

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