August 6th, 2010
03:58 PM ET

Hit by economy, patients can't buy life-saving meds

Cancer patients might not be able to buy life-saving drugs because of the economic downturn, doctors warn.

Two University of California, San Francisco doctors wrote a letter to The New England Journal of Medicine, describing what they had seen in their practice.

Three of their cancer patients had been able to keep their rare stomach cancers at bay by taking a life-saving drug known as imatinib.

Imatinib is effective in stopping the spread of the metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumor, but it also costs $4,500 a month.

All three patients had started taking the medication in 2001 with great outcomes. But as the economy tanked, one patient had to stop taking the drugs because of decreased family income. Another patient became self-employed and had a preexisting condition, and could not pay for the medication. The third patient's small business failed in 2008 and the person discontinued taking the drug as a result. The tumor recurred in 2009, requiring emergency surgery for that patient, according to the letter.

All three had their conditions worsen, the doctors said.

Without the medication, patients would die of cancer, said Dr. Alan P. Venook, professor of clinical medicine in the division of medical oncology.

Two of the patients are back in remission and one still has a fair bit of cancer, Venook said.  Doctors and the drug maker, Novartis, worked together to get the patients back on their medication.

All three patients were participants in the drug trial that led to the approval of imatinib for treating the tumor.  Venook noted in the letter, "it is an unfortunate irony to find them now unable to afford the drug."

"Though tumor progression might have occurred in all three patients even with medication adherence, their cases illustrate that economic factors can influence the decisions that patients with cancer make about their care," wrote Venook and co-author, Dr. Robin K. Kelley.

Venook said they wrote the letter so other doctors would be aware and get in touch with patients who many not be compliant with their life-saving medication.

“I’m sure it goes on everywhere else,” said Venook.

soundoff (196 Responses)
  1. bailoutsos

    I think it time for another Wall Street bailout instead of helping Main Street.

    August 6, 2010 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Krista

      The Obama administration's Health Care bill, which the Republicans have and still are fighting tooth and nail would have stopped the majority of these cases from happening. Pre-existing condition wouldn't be a factor when it came to health insurance anymore, and health insurance would be cheaper. Obama has been trying to help Main Street while the Repubs put every road block they can in his way for political reasons.

      August 7, 2010 at 16:22 | Report abuse |
    • Phillip Bias

      Krista you are dead wrong. every year i hit the doughnut hole in my presciption coverage on medicare.around december 15th. tghis year however i hit it in mid june. so i lost half a year of coverage because of the lies coming from this traitors administration. so no krista obamacare isnt going to help anyone and as a matter of fact medicare is now in the red thanks to a half trillion dollar theft from medicare.thye obamanation should hang

      August 7, 2010 at 17:00 | Report abuse |
    • IMHO

      No, Phillip Bias. YOU are dead wrong. Medicare recipients have been "hitting the donut hole" earlier and earlier, for years – long before the current administration came into office. The reason was unchecked and unchallenged pharmaceutical costs. The solution, to allow medicare to use its vast purchasing muscle to negotiate better prices for us citizens, was blocked by industry lobbyists and conservative legislators in both houses. In point of fact, a recent report on the state of the health of Social Security and Medicare found that the Obama administration's sweeping health care overhaul will extend the life of the medicare hospital fund by 12 years: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/08/05/politics/main6746131.shtml. You need to get your facts straight before merely regurgitating party rhetoric and campaign talking points.

      August 7, 2010 at 18:15 | Report abuse |
    • andrea

      Bailout, and Phillip, you are both completely wrong. Please do your homework before posting. If the Repubs hadn't killed the public option, we wouldn't have this issue. Did you know that it would have saved us all thousands out of our pockets... the amount that private insurers are taking in profit, and not using for our care. It is beyond me how people can be so ignorant.

      August 7, 2010 at 19:59 | Report abuse |
    • Don't Kid yourself

      Medicare like social security is a burden on the relatively young to support the old. It was always going to outpace the payroll tax because of the shift in population to the elderly. The real tragedy is the excessive use of "healthcare" in the dying process (Probably 20% of medicare costs). We need to face the fact that at some point, you are no longer just ill but are in fact dying.

      August 8, 2010 at 01:01 | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      So how is it that only incredibly recently in history that it's a bad thing to sell medicine?

      Should it be a crime to put a price on things that people need such as food, water, and medicine? No, because you cannot simply give away for free things that are limited.

      It is sad that we can't have unlimited resources, but it's a fact of life, the struggle for survival at the cost of others doesn't make us human. But neither would be giving away things that others depend on for free. It's the sometimes requiring of doing things that hurt other people, but still having feelings about it that does.

      August 8, 2010 at 01:26 | Report abuse |
    • Gilda

      May those of you who seem to think there's nothing wrong with our friends and families not being able to prolong or even save their lives because of the cost of medication never have to go through the same thing yourselves.

      Or, god forbid, your own immediate family members. Imagine watching your parents or children die because an available medication is too expensive to procure.

      August 8, 2010 at 13:53 | Report abuse |
    • Russell

      There should be no reason any American should not get life saving drugs! Money should not be an issue especially since the medical supply industry is so massive and so wealthy. Think how many illegials get free medications and ask why cant the poor people medications that are citizens. How many poor doctors do you know?

      August 8, 2010 at 22:59 | Report abuse |
    • PP

      I am ok with my tax money funding healthcare for veterans, people under 18 years, college students between 18 and 24, people who developed uninsurable illnesses before they turned 18 or (in the case of college students) before they turned 24, and people with congenital disorders who cannot work. If someone is sick and do not fall in any of the above categories, they just have to live or die with the fact that there are limited resources in this world and that they did not work harder (create more resources) or save more (conserver resources) while they were healthy. Should have shopped at walmart instead of some high-end store. Should have not eaten out on all those days. Should have spent more time hitting the books in high school (and college?). Should have majored in something for which someone will pay you. Should have waited to start a family. Should have worked 80 hour weeks in your career or business to get ahead. Should have foregone the flashy SUV for a small car. Should have stayed in a beat up apartment instead of that expensive house or apartment. Should have not bought new clothes/shoes that particular year. Should have given up vacation the next year.

      August 8, 2010 at 23:30 | Report abuse |
    • anne

      PHillip Bias, you are under a misaprehension. The Obama Healthcare bill has not taken effect yet. It is set to gradually faze in over starting later this year. So, those high prices you are complaining about are from the 'pre-exisiting conditions' the repubs are fighting to keep!

      August 9, 2010 at 12:20 | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      I think it's time people stop saying Main Street.

      August 9, 2010 at 15:42 | Report abuse |
    • Biff

      Bailout, Phillip, IMHO, Andrea, Peter, Paul, Mary... YOU ARE ALL WRONG! Every last one of you is WRONG WRONG WROOOONNNNNG!

      August 10, 2010 at 17:58 | Report abuse |
  2. vknuettel

    I, too, am taking part in a clinical trial. The drugmaker said that they would always supply these drugs to me for free even after the trial is over. Having failed twice with traditional chemo and radiation, this seemed the best chance for me. The drugs seem to be working. What I have experienced is that insurance has ways to get out of paying for things. For instance, a PET scan would be far more useful than a CT but insurance says that not enough trials have been run with my particular type of cancer to prove that they are more useful. At one point, when the cancer recurred, it was small and the CT scan was not clear enough for my radiologist to say that the spot we saw was the cancer or a shadow. My only choice was to let it get big enough. I chose to have the PET scan (which confirmed that spot as the only spot) and take the risk of paying for it. The lab may write it off. I hope so. It is the same with drugs. Many are tested on ovarian but not all that many on uterine. There are drugs my doctor knows will help but insurance won't pay. The real problem is the outrageous cost of the drugs in the first place. There is a lot of blame to go around and a lot of guilty parties.

    August 6, 2010 at 17:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • stan

      please dont forget the equally outrageous cost of bringing drugs to market. on AVERAGE it takes almost 9 years from the start of clinical trials for a company to get the approval to market a drug. Including the cost of drugs that DONT make it to market, each new drug that gets approved costs it's maker 802 MILLION dollars (this was in 2005, it's surely gone up by now). Thats an awful lot of money to have invested in a long term project that may or may not yield any return. Drug companies spend over 40 BILLION dollars a year on research and development. Someones got to pay for that.

      August 6, 2010 at 17:59 | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      Drug companies spend more money on TV advertisements than on R&D. In fact, most new drugs are simply old drugs designed for "new" applications.

      August 6, 2010 at 21:58 | Report abuse |
    • stan

      Anonymous, ignoring the fact that i see nothing to back up your claim, does uit matter if drug companies advertise? they are in BUSINESS. that means they have to advertise their product. plain and simple.

      BTW, even if a 'new' drug is just an 'old' drug thats used for a new application it still needs to go through the FDA approval process to be labeled for the new use. and there goes that average cost of 800 million bux.

      August 6, 2010 at 22:13 | Report abuse |
    • Colleendma16

      @stan...you are buying the drug company line. Most of the cost of drugs before trial come from you and me. The DHS provides TONS of $$$. They are suppose to get that money back if the drug does well...but they are not good book keepers and never get the money back to us.

      Did you know that AZT (the first AIDS drug) was a failed cancer drug?

      Drug company's make 12% bottom line profit. Most businesses make 6%.

      I am all for profit...but should I pay for it twice?

      August 6, 2010 at 22:13 | Report abuse |
    • stan

      Colleendma16, any grants that a company might get cant be used to write down profit from the bottom line. unless you are going to accuse the irs of conspiring with the drug companies to artificially understate their profit (and hence have uncle sam loose out on billions of dollars of revenue a year) the numbers DONT LIE. all this is int he public domain. look at their sales, look at their r&d expense, and look at their gross/net profit.

      again it doesnt matter if AZT was a failed cancer drug. did you not read what i wrote? it costs ON AVERAGE 802 million dollars to bring a drug from clinical trials to FDA approval for sale. it doesnt matter if this is a brand new drug sythesized from the secretion of a tree frog in borneo or if it's a re labeled existing drug. thats the AVERAGE cost. that is a LOT of money to put out on the line.

      with regards to your issue with the profit margin in the drug industry, is 12% really that bad? if we use the 12% figure, if drug companies went not for profit that means the 4500$ a month cancer drug in this story would turn into a 3960$ a month treatment. excuse me for not getting my panties in a bunch over that!

      August 6, 2010 at 22:35 | Report abuse |
    • Spucky

      @Stan: Just a point of clarification: The $802 million you quoted was the estimated cost of bringing a NEW drug to market, not for old drugs that are repurposed / submitted for approval for new uses, which cost far less than that to bring to market. Also, frequently, drug manufacturers reformulate drugs that are coming off patent, in order to prolong / renew the patent status. Those cost less, too.

      August 7, 2010 at 13:50 | Report abuse |
    • JulieCA

      I hear so many here amd in politics touting their "Christianity" yet they can stand by and watch people die because of their economic situation. They'd rather find ways to avoid taxes that we owe (wealthy, that's you too) then help others. Very Christian! I'm all about paying my own way and I certainly do, but I'm first to help others if they're in need. How many of you who sit around complaining about Obamacare volunteer in your communities in any capacity? Obamacare was designed to help folks, but it's certainly been scaled down too far. That's the fundamental difference I see between the left and right; left will help others; right is "I'll help but it has to benefit me too". Glad to be in the middle.

      August 8, 2010 at 11:02 | Report abuse |
  3. Todiefor

    My insurance company came up with a way to get over the high cost of drugs(the maintenance type) you must buy from their pharmancy, have them conveniently delivered to you by mail, and only pay 16 times the accross the counter price as a co-pay. YAY BCBSIL!!!

    August 6, 2010 at 18:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KeithTexas

      My insurance company also found a way to save money on drugs; they just refuse to pay for them.

      August 8, 2010 at 13:21 | Report abuse |
  4. Woodyag

    Stan- "Drug companies spend over 40 BILLION dollars a year on research and development. Someones got to pay for that."

    Right. But 10 times? Anyone- just google "drug industry profits" is you want the truth. Drug companies are THE most profitable of all; BY FAR. Could they afford to charge a little less? Duh. But what the heck; dead customers are better than cutting dividends and executive bonuses.

    August 6, 2010 at 18:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • stan

      woodyang – 10 times what? drug companies ARE profitable but no where near what you claim.
      in '09 the top 5 drug companies did the following:
      19.8% profit margin on 62 billion in sales (johnson & johnson)
      17.2% profit on 50 billion in sales (pfizer)
      20% profit on 47 billion in sales (roche)
      20% profit on 45 billion in sales (glaxosmithkline)
      19% profit on 45 billion in sales (novartis)

      see the trend there? a roughly 20% profit margin is great, but it's far from highway robbery.

      if the drug companies went not for profit over night that 4500$ a month cancer treatment would be 3600$ a month. Thats hardly going from affordable only to the uber rich to something every tom dick and harry can easily afford.

      August 6, 2010 at 22:11 | Report abuse |
    • Junky

      Stan, You're assuming that all their drugs have the same profit margin of 20%. They may have several (or dozens) with only 1% but that cancer drug may have a 90% because it's so new and they have the only supply of it.

      New drugs can only be sold by the inventing company until it goes into public domain where lots of other companies pick it up and start making it (where generic comes from). Until it hits that point, the drug companies are milking that drug for all the blood their customers can give.. and a little more.

      Once a drug gets close to the cut off date where other companies can start selling it, they change it just a smidge so they can call it a new drug and remarket it and continue to make huge profits off it, even though it's less than 1% different from the previous drug's incarnation.

      August 7, 2010 at 21:41 | Report abuse |
    • stan

      Junky – it doesnt matter what the markup on any particular drug is. the overall profit margin is still 20% that means they can afford to discount their sales 20% to not go into the red. period. you are confusing the cost to produce a particular drug and it's mark up with the total cost of business and overall profit margin. just because the markup on product 'x' is 90% (or even 90,000%) does NOT mean that the company could afford to give it away and not loose money. thats because of the huge cost of bringing new drugs to market. no one is going to invest a billion dollars over a decade to look for the next wonder drug for the opportunity to sell pils at 1$ each if they cost .99$ each to make.

      August 9, 2010 at 00:41 | Report abuse |
  5. Heart Meds

    Why is it that the drug companies find it necessary to spend BILLIONS of dollars advertising their drugs on TV, radio, newpapers and magazines??? After all, what they advertise require a prescription! You must go to the doctor to get an Rx to buy them. And why target consmers with expensive ads? We don't know which drug will work for us or if the drug advertised is OK with other drugs we take. This whole drill raises the cost of drugs we buy. My heart medicine was $98.00 for 100 pills a year ago. Last month it was $166.00. And, I buy from the Big Box store because they have the best price. The whole Big Pharma industry makes me sick. How else do you think the chain drug stores can put a store on every other block – the consumer is getting shafted.

    August 6, 2010 at 18:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • USMAwife

      Um, how do you you think "big pharma" gets the funds to research new medications? Surprise, finding new cures costs money! That's how life works.

      August 7, 2010 at 22:31 | Report abuse |
    • Biff

      USMAWIFE: You are an imbocile. There has NEVER been a cure for any disease EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Open your eyes. It is all about prolonging your life to squeeze every dime they can out of you while they slowly poison you to death. Why don't you wake up to reality? Stop drinking the Koolaid.

      August 10, 2010 at 18:03 | Report abuse |
  6. detmedwing

    I think it is outrageous that insurance companies can force their clients to use mail order pharmaceutical companies only. Some also have a proprietary interest in these mail order companies. Your locally owned pharmacy is NOT allowed to compete! Many times these small pharmacies can provide the meds, especially generics, at a similar or lower price. The customer can also interact with the pharmacist and receive counseling and guidance concerning their medications. Our government spends a lot of time TALKING about helping small businesses remain viable and then turns a blind eye to these types of practices.

    August 6, 2010 at 19:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Fleecing of America

    It is amazing how there are drugs to take for the rest of your life, but nothing to cure what ails you. The drug companies are engaged in one of the largest scams and fleecings in American history. The oil companies and cigarette makers are the other biggies. In the meantime all three industries have you worried about government.

    August 6, 2010 at 19:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bibliovore

      It really depends on the ailment. Antibiotics cure infections, chemotherapy can get rid of some cancers or at least put them into remission, and inoculations can prevent some diseases from ever occurring. For a great many medical conditions, if there's not already a cure there's a lot of ongoing research into finding one, such as for diabetes, AIDS, and cancer. Drug companies do a lot of fleecing (as do insurance companies, frustratingly), but they also do some good, and while they do nowhere near all of the cure research, they do do some of it.

      August 6, 2010 at 21:46 | Report abuse |
  8. gene

    Last year I went to a "conference" by a leading maker of pacemakers, and cardiac balloon catheters. Two nights at a beautiful hotel in Boston pluse 6 meals and many snacks. Who do you think ends up paying for that? They paid for everything and in turn patients can't afford what they need. I could've learned what they offered at an in hospital inservice just fine.

    August 6, 2010 at 20:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bob

      Why didn't you just stay at your hospital and learn everything from your 'hospital inservice'?

      August 7, 2010 at 22:28 | Report abuse |
  9. robin

    it's stories like this that sometimes really make me ashamed of America. This country was founded on values, morals and freedom. Yet here we are...2010 and we have drug companies and health providers standing by ..."REFUSING" to lend a hand to those in need and that will die if not treated with the proper drugs. Come on people....this country is becoming more and more evil and uncaring, yet people ask "Why would God let bad things happen?". It's not GOD...it's our own society and the evil of the almighty dollar that is causing this country to suffer. Evil breeds evil!!! Killing unborn babies, elderly being abused, cancer patients refused the proper medication cause they don't have enough money.....when is the insanity going to end AMERICA??????

    August 6, 2010 at 21:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LucyLu

      Robin, you need to stop acting on your emotions and get some facts. Did you know that most pharmaceutical companies give away drugs to people who can't afford them? They just need to apply for them. Did you know that health care providers – hospitals-write off millions of dollars for people who can't afford their care? Or they frequently give discounts to people who have no insurance and can't afford their care? Try all this the next time you go to the grocery story or the clothing store. (you need food and you need clothes, right?) Look-it costs money to run business-employees, supplies, etc. But don't ever think that these health care companies don't have heart, because so much is actually given away or discounted.

      August 7, 2010 at 14:48 | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      Some things are nonprofit for a reason; health care should be a nonprofit enterprise. Once there is a profit motive for other peoples' illnesses there is less motivation to actually cure illness, as opposed to turn everything into a chronic condition. In the tension between making profit and doing what's right, the money always wins.

      August 7, 2010 at 20:47 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      The capiltalist system-along with the associated pharamaceutical companies everyone is decrying–have done more good for more people than any other segment of industry. The reason drugs cost a great deal is because an incredible amount of research goes into developing them. The reason why healthcare is so expensive now is that the healthcare industry can do so much for a person than they could even 20 years ago! Transplants, laproscopic surgery, chemo, radiation, stents, biologic medicines, molecular medicines etc etc. Many of the conditions that are now routinely treated were death sentences just a generation ago. All of this progress costs money and someone has to pay for it. All of you who believe this progress comes without cost are fooling yourselves. For those of you who believe that the government can effectively conduct any level of medical research, you're fooling yourselves as well.

      August 7, 2010 at 22:35 | Report abuse |
    • Yuliqmahbaht

      Robin – you have a valid point and I'm with you on this. But for those that defend the pharmaceutical industry and the high cost of drugs by bringing up research costs should trying buying meds outside the States for once. That would be the same as me saying ' The reason gas prices are so high is because of the 'research' that goes into developing a better gasoline for your SUV'. Pharmaceutical prices in America are outrageous. They're a fraction of the cost in many other countries – so how can you support the idea that 'research' is the reasons American's pay so much? It's BS. Americans pay so much because they work for the health industry, not the other way around.

      August 8, 2010 at 02:14 | Report abuse |
    • robin

      Lucylu...get my facts straight? Well first of all.....NOT being emotional and caring to what is going on in this country is part of what the problem is. So yes, i am blessed to say that i do have emotions and care that people are dying because they simply can't afford medication. I feel sorry for those that do not care! Secondly, facts ..well do you not agree that in America there are millions of babies each day being aborted..(murdered)? Do you not agree that only in America people protest to save the trees, but are advocates for abortion rights? You may not believe in God, but this country was founded on morals and doing what is right! As we have strayed away from those very same morals and done whatever we want and then justify it in some twisted way...therefore God will allow us to do so. However, if America continues to go against everything that is pure and right...then they will pay the cost! Not going to argue or try to get anyone on here to see my point...because i have learned that people can come to believe whatever they so chose...but that can be deceiving and if someone is being deceived...they do NOT know they are!

      August 8, 2010 at 12:27 | Report abuse |
    • nonovyerbeezwax

      People like you will use any excuse to bring up the issue of abortion. Knock it off. Abortion is legal and has nothing to do with this subject.

      August 8, 2010 at 22:42 | Report abuse |
    • PP

      Yuliqmahbaht, yes america pays more for meds than those countries (such as Japan, Canada, and UK) whose governments engage in collective bargaining to bring down drug costs for all their citizens. You should be upset..........at Japan, Canada, and UK. Americans are essentially subsidizing drug research for all these developed countries. Besides not paying their fair share, these countries' collectively-bargained med prices also attract job-creating manufacturing industries that are trying to get away from America's expensive employee healthcare plans. If America could get these countries to pay what we pay, drug prices for Americans will come down because the rest of the world will be pitching in to cover research cost.

      August 8, 2010 at 23:03 | Report abuse |
    • jillybean

      Robin is turning this into an anti-abortion agenda. I have seen those lunatic types that are so self righteous arrogant christians who think they are perfect.

      August 8, 2010 at 23:36 | Report abuse |
    • ApeHanger

      Secondly, facts ..well do you not agree that in America there are millions of babies each day being aborted..(murdered)?

      Robin, you need to get a grip on reality. Millions of abortions do not take place every day in the USA. There are not enough doctors or facilities to handle a fraction of that many pregnancy terminations.

      Secondly, referring to abortion as murder is an opinion that is typical of religious whack-jobs. You don't place yourself in that august group, do you?

      The unfortunate reality of health care is that doctors, nurses and other medical staff need to be paid, drug manufacturers have to produce a profit so they can continue the research required to develop new drugs, hospitals have to stay solvent in order to care for sick people, and it goes on and on. If none of these things happens, there won't be any health care, no matter how much one is willing to pay to get it.

      Also, there is nothing written into our Constitution that gives you, me or anyone else an innate right to health care. If you expect the government to take care of you, perhaps you should apply for an entry visa to France, Germany, Sweden (world's highest personal income tax rate) or (shudder) Saudi Arabia. That "free" health care will come with a very high price.

      August 9, 2010 at 00:29 | Report abuse |
    • mikki


      Yes, you are semi-correct.

      The drugs that cost really big bucks? There isn’t any help for those.
      I am currently unemployed and do not have any insurance. There is one program in my area that works with pharmaceutical companies. They provide my thyroid medication, some pain meds, and dermatologic drugs.

      The medicine needed for my skin cancer. Not provided. Not through my local program, not through a national program….I even called the company directly. My doctor even called. It’s very expensive and there is no way to get it.

      August 9, 2010 at 09:18 | Report abuse |
    • Claudia

      Jillybean: If you willingly slaughter your own child, you are a murderer. NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. It does not make a person 'self-righteous' for pointing it out. Don't give me that bullcrap about WHAT IF YOU WERE RAPED? You know what? I WAS RAPED AND GOT PREGNANT. But guess what? I kept the child. I am not going to punish a baby for what some scumbag did to me. Besides, don't fool yourself into thinking that those situations are the only ones that people have abortions. MOST abortions are done because the woman simply does not WANT the child but is willing to spread her dirty legs to the world without suffering the consequences. WRONG. You are a murderer plain and simple.

      August 10, 2010 at 18:12 | Report abuse |
  10. Anonymous

    Only in America does an industrialized country place more value on money than providing life saving medications for its citizens who can't afford it. So much for pro-life. Want to live? Pay up, or die. That's the American Way.

    August 6, 2010 at 21:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • robin

      So true, yet so very very sad! 🙁 my prayer: That God has mercy on this nation!

      August 6, 2010 at 21:58 | Report abuse |
    • Spucky

      Here's an idea: What if we took all the pro-lifers and got them to channel all that energy into protesting to improve the situation with regard to preserving life once a person is born? I have to say, I have been wondering why their cause seems to end once a person is born. There is value to all life, no?

      August 7, 2010 at 14:05 | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      I've been saying for a long time now.......This is America. You can have anything you can afford to buy. If you can't afford it you have to do without. And you might die sooner if you can't afford insurance, doctors, medicines & hospitals. And I'm one of those who can't afford and there's nothing I can do to change that. What will be will be, I guess. Doesn't do any good to get all worked up about it.

      August 7, 2010 at 14:25 | Report abuse |
    • andrea

      Yes, there are those who believe that pro-life is the most important political stand... but could care less about the person after they are born here, and their care. It's used as a wedge issue.. inflammatory gibberish. You can't enforce an abortion ban... we have the responsibility to wright laws that we can enforce. I'm sure most cities can't imagine trying to fund the "abortion squad".
      We have the responsibility to improve lives, that's something we can control.

      August 7, 2010 at 20:43 | Report abuse |
    • Claudia

      PRO LIFE is the most idiotic title I have ever heard. Who is NOT prolife? Obviously someone who has no qualms about ending someone's life. I was raped and kept the baby. So dont give me that bs. A REAL WOMAN will take care of the child SHE CREATED no matter how it came about.

      August 10, 2010 at 18:19 | Report abuse |
  11. REBA

    I have a 17 year old daughter with Cystic Fibrosis and Diabetes. I worry about what will happen when she turns 18. Will my insurance drop her? How will she pay for her meds? Social Security Income can't cover it, that's for sure! We're talking at least a couple of grand a month just to stay alive.

    August 6, 2010 at 22:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kate

      Under the healthcare reform, most plans will be required to cover dependents until age 26. Some plans will not, but most will. Hopefully yours will have to. Support the Democrats that supported this reform!

      August 7, 2010 at 20:43 | Report abuse |
    • USMAwife

      Well, if she goes to college, she shouldn't have a problem keeping her coverage under your plan.

      August 7, 2010 at 22:28 | Report abuse |
    • ApeHanger

      We're talking at least a couple of grand a month just to stay alive.

      That's not so bad. How about 2500-4000 a week? That's the tab to keep me going. If the money runs out, I plan to make sure my affairs are in order.

      August 9, 2010 at 00:33 | Report abuse |
  12. Doe

    And yet some people think the current health care system is just fine and dandy. You work hard, play by the rules, and still die simply because you're self employed and can't afford the exorbitant individual policy premiums, or because the insurers won't cover you due to a pre-existing condition. Your health care depends on what your employer decides for you, and that's only if your employer provides coverage at all. If you get laid off, not only you have little income, but your COBRA premium is much higher than before. And when you find another job, most employers now require a 90-day waiting period. More and more employers hire temp workers or "consultants" in order to avoid providing health coverage at all. And yet there are people out there who think that this stupid, idiotic health care system actually make sense and is the greatest there is.

    August 7, 2010 at 05:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Lynn

    Sometimes I just want to stop taking insulin because its so expensive, and its so hard to get healthcare. I'll simply waste away and be done! But I can't, its so frustrating to have a life treatening condition and no way to pay for treatment!! I wish I lived in Japan, where 16% of the GDP pays for universal healthcare...

    August 7, 2010 at 08:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kate

      I hope you vote and that you don't vote for Republicans. We could have had a public option and universal or near-universal health care if the Republicans hadn't been so adamantly against it. They have zero interest in what will make our society and our people healthier. They only want to obstruct every form of progress in order to try and shift blame onto others for lack of progress. In the meantime, unemployed Americans go without benefits, people who work can't afford the medicines they need to survive (and keep working), hardly anyone can afford child care or education or heck, car repairs. Republicans are so out of touch and clueless, they are doing substantial amounts of harm to all of us. Don't vote for them.

      August 7, 2010 at 20:41 | Report abuse |
    • andrea

      Please Lynn , vote for your health. One day we'll get a system that works for us, not the bonuses of the health care CEO's , or the cash to line politicians pockets to buy their vote to fight change.

      August 7, 2010 at 20:46 | Report abuse |
  14. Smoothe

    Type 2 Diabetics under 29k a year and not on assistance can sometimes get free meds directly from manufacturer programs..Ok the cost is passed on to others but there are programs for Avandia, Januvia etc.....Its part of the deal they struck with congress over extending their patents a little longer.......Instead of these medicine going to generic, they hold onto the rights to charge more while giving the working poor freebies.........

    August 7, 2010 at 08:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. lk

    I hear similar arguments made by companies in other areas of medical field, such as, hospitals. They claim that they are struggling due to uninsured emergency visits. But when you look around, the same management company opens up new hospitals left and right (based on Houston area). If the business model is not profitable, how come they keep expanding in the same direction. I think it's all about lobbying and creating untruthful information and confusion so that they can get all laws in their favor.

    August 7, 2010 at 09:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Andy

    Welcome to America.

    Those of you trashing the Wall St. bailout you must realize that without that, we'd most certainly be in a depression right now. Every economist who knows anything about history knows this. Even McCain would have bailed out Wall St. The problem is, when Obama then wants to put in regulations to make sure Wall St. doesn't play games with the economy again and need to be bailed out – yet again – people flip out and call him a socialist. Sigh. But remember, when Obama tries to rescue the medical industry, again he's called a socialist.

    August 7, 2010 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. DM

    Crazy stuff. So wealthy as a nation, but we cannot provide life saving medicine to our citizens.

    August 7, 2010 at 09:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Dystopiax

    Sigh. Sometimes I wish that individuals receiving a monthly benefit in the amount of $4,500 would obtain this by going to the homes of other insurees and collecting their premiums in cash.

    August 7, 2010 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • The_Mick

      In may cases, those receiving a $4500 monthly benefit -and their employers- paid in thousands every year without using any significant benefits. Now they're out? The insurance companies in America only use 67-71% of the collected premiums for health care. In other nations, PRIVATE insurance companies spend 94%. But with high CEO pays, high commissions, corporate jets, skyscraper headquarters, etc. we have to throw people away!

      August 7, 2010 at 12:41 | Report abuse |
    • zann

      See – that's what insurance is all about. You pay in for many years while you are healthy so that when you are old and prone to serious illness, you will be have coverage for them. At least, that's how it used to be.

      After paying your insurance company for thirty years, if you get laid off from your job and can't find another one and COBRA runs out – then, so sorry, what bad luck, but thanks for paying all those premiums while you were healthy!

      August 8, 2010 at 20:18 | Report abuse |
  19. MRR

    Check out a web site prescriptionhope.com. If you meet the requirements they do the leg work with the drug manufactures and you can get prescription,s that have no generic for $12 per month per prescription if the can. They do have a pretty long list of drugs they can get you. so if you have a prescription that cost $250 per month, you can get 90 days for $36 ($12 per script per month) Check it out and you decide

    August 7, 2010 at 11:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. mooli

    $4500.00 a month on cancer meds? I can't even afford the doctor visit to be diagnosed with the C.

    August 7, 2010 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Melissa

      Same here! I can't get insurance due to a genetic condition that runs in my family and I couldn't afford the $400 visit to a specialist (and the tests) to see how bad it is without it. I just learn to cope and go on. It's very interesting reading this article, though; we had this discussion not long after my stepmother went into remission from Hodgkin's (a $50,000 price tag after insurance) and I had to say the same thing many of these patients did: if I get it, I'm just dead. There's no fighting it when you can't afford it.

      August 7, 2010 at 23:25 | Report abuse |
    • ApeHanger

      One hundred years ago we wouldn't have had this discussion. Many of these ailments would have been life-enders.

      August 9, 2010 at 00:36 | Report abuse |
  21. The_Mick

    I know people who have to make a choice between buying blood pressure and/or diabetes meds and buying gasoline to get to work or food to eat. Consequently, there are a lot of arteries hardening and organs deteriorating that will cost a lot to treat in the future and eventually cost us all.

    August 7, 2010 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ApeHanger

      And how many of these acquaintances of yours stop by McDonald's and Burger King for meals?

      August 9, 2010 at 00:37 | Report abuse |
  22. Janet

    And this is why we DO need government intervention in the medical industry. I need surgery but can't find insurance I can afford. And even if I could it is a pre-existing condition. The entire U.S. health care industry is broken.

    August 7, 2010 at 13:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Odiekaye

      So your idea is to have tax payers pay for your surgery? I am truely sorry you have to have surgery, but my husband had cancer and was recently treated and my son just finished several weeks of Physical Therapy...yet your idea is for me to pay for you??? I am struggling myself, what is your answer for me?

      August 7, 2010 at 14:21 | Report abuse |
    • Krista

      If all tax payers paid a small percentage, then all of health care costs would be covered. It's not like you'd be paying for your own insurance PLUS paying extra in taxes. A universal health care policy covering everyone would be cheaper for everyone in the long run as at some point everyone needs expensive health care.

      August 7, 2010 at 16:27 | Report abuse |
  23. nbbiggs

    A price needs to be set on a life. As much as it would be nice for everyone to have every life saving drug or operation at whatever cost, there simply is not enough production in the world to make that happen. The cold reality is that EVERYONE has to die some day. Part of the reason that health care has become so expensive is the misguided notion that everyone should be saved at any cost. The longer we try to keep people alive, the more expensive it is going to get, the higher the cost of health care. Notice that I said there is not enough production, not money. Money is simply a quantifier of production. The more a person produces, the more money they have to purchase goods and services. This is the same as bartering, but more efficient. Long ago, if I labored to grow potatoes, then I could trade those potatoes for a blacksmith's time to work on my plow. Money is simply an efficient mediator for barter. Now, the article states that the drugs cost $4,500 per MONTH. That is the equivalent of a person laboring to earn $54,000 per year. Now, we are supposed to feel bad for this cancer patient who will die if the rest of us do not give her $54,000 per year to keep her alive. What has this person done to produce goods and services to warrant that the rest of society pay $54,000 per year indefinitely to keep her alive? Why not let that one person die and use the $54,000 per year to enrich the lives of hundreds of others? For terminal patients, let them pay their own way. If this person worked hard and saved a million dollars, then she can pay for her drugs. If not, then don't be greedy and make society foot the bill for your fear of death. Be a hero and recognize that the money can be put to better use for more people than just yourself.

    August 7, 2010 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Linda

      So true, but a truth no one wants to hear.

      August 7, 2010 at 14:30 | Report abuse |
    • Krista

      The fact is that the medicine does not take $4500/mo per person to produce. Perhaps medical research should be government run and paid for by taxes so that it isn't a for-profit industry. Why should Anyone make money on someone elses' suffering?

      August 7, 2010 at 16:28 | Report abuse |
    • hn

      I have to admit I can't agree with so many of the things said here. Why should an individual's access to money determine life or death decisions in a society that has more than enough to provide for them? Surely any system that decides access to healthcare should have healing sick people as its first concern? Of course cost must also be taken into account and only so much medicine is affordable, but from what I can see there is little or no relationship between the cost of medicines and the charges for those medicines to uninsured patients. For example I recently brought 30 omeprazole tablets in Canada for $45. The price of this medicine in New Zealand is about $NZ9.50 which is about $7.15 in Canadian dollars. This price is made up of $3.05 for the drug itself, 4% of the drug cost for wholesaler markup, $5.30 dispensing fee to the pharmacist, and 12.5% tax. It left me wondering what the rest of the $45 dollar charge was based on and how many profit margins had been included? Even if I were to accept patients' access to medicines should be determined by how much they earn, why would anyone want such an important aspect of people's lives to be left at the mercy of such an inefficient system?

      August 7, 2010 at 17:19 | Report abuse |
    • nbbiggs

      I am amazed at the price of the new Avatar Blue Ray disk. It costs $29.99 at Best Buy. I can get the exact same disk from Malaysia for $5. I don't understand why Hollywood producers are ripping off the people in the US. It only costs about 50 cents to produce the disk. Why are they charging such exorbitant prices? How can they sleep at night when they have such a rediculous profit margin? Maybe we should have movies produced by the government so that everyone can have access to movies at a reasonable price.

      People, communism is a failed system. It has been proven across the globe that you cannot enslave people through government. If you enslave the producers, they will simply choose not to produce. They will do the bare minimum to survive. Where will your health care be then? Health care is not a God-given right. The ONLY reason you have amazing drugs to complain about having to pay for is because of the free market system where producers are given the freedom to produce and the freedom to reap the benefits of their labors. Go ahead and enslave the producers through government take overs and see what happens.

      August 7, 2010 at 17:59 | Report abuse |
    • HoustonSteve

      @nbbiggs: you are absolutely right. The conclusion that I come to is that, as a country, we focus on education. Apparently, our educational system is cranking out boatloads of losers with a massive sense of self-entitlement. This whole story is a red herring, as drug companies will provide these cutting-edge agents for free in many cases if someone can't afford it. I find it amazing that people would suggest we move to a communist system where the government runs things, and then expect there will even BE innovations like MRI machines and targeted drugs. What a sorry bunch of slobs Americans have become. Hat's off to those scientists and doctors, or business people who study into the wee hours to be able to practice their trade at high levels, or take the risk to start drug companies. You are wrong about one thing though......if we choke off the produces, they won't be hanging around doing the minimum....its a globalized world now. They'll take their ball and bat and head to another country where their skills are appropriately rewarded.

      August 7, 2010 at 19:03 | Report abuse |
    • Dystopiax

      We are here today because our forbears in the Ice Age were subjected to the same forces that cull animals to keep the herd strong. A landmark in transition from great ape to human was the development of the Healer role. But each social unit was faced with the problem that the healer could fix only a limited range of things. In Arctic cultures, when an elder person felt s/he was a drain and danger to the tribe, suicide by exposure to severe cold was the voluntary practice. Another landmark in our cultural revolution was when Healers services morphed into a protection racket.

      August 8, 2010 at 11:04 | Report abuse |
  24. Spucky

    Any body else bothered by the new trend of taking what is, essentially, a health food store supplement and changing the formulation so that it may be called a drug that, BTW, performs NO better than the supplement and carries the risk of disturbing side effects? I have seen ads recently for a drug called LOVAZA, pushing fish oil ethyl esters (it even sounds yucky) with a tag line telling you that it isn't the same as what you can get at the store. What they're not saying is that it isn't the same and it's no better, either. Seems to me that there's no benefit to the consumer. Different story for the drug companies, however... Is this the test for a grand plan for the drug companies to "convert" all supplements to drugs? It's s slippery slope we're on.

    August 7, 2010 at 13:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. FarLeft

    As-long-as the pharma-companies makes billions, right? Let folks die a degrading, excruciating death.., but whatever you do.., keep the price exhorbitant, gotta bolster the economy.

    August 7, 2010 at 14:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • nbbiggs

      I have no problem with euthanasia. Who are you to say how much a pharmaceutical company should earn in profit? Why don't you start your own pharmaceutical company and give your pruducts away for free? Did you study four hours every night of your life from the time you were 10 until you were 30 in order to become a doctor or scientist? Is your production worth the value of those who spent thousands of hours and thousands of dollars to become doctors and scientists? After you go back to school and become a doctor, then talk to me.

      August 7, 2010 at 14:26 | Report abuse |
    • Krista

      Why should health care earn a profit _at all_? Breaking even should certainly be good enough. These are necessary services for the health and well being of people. Perhaps it shouldn't be private industry at all.

      August 7, 2010 at 16:29 | Report abuse |
    • USMAwife

      I ABSOLUTELY agree with nbbiggs! If we did switch to socialized healthcare, we would just be hurt in the long run. There would be no incentive to compete to get the new drugs on the market. Yes, they may make a lot of money, but they definitely earned it. Which ones of us are at lab right now trying and failing, trying and failing, on and on to invent new life saving drugs. Oh yeah, that's after spending years in school.

      August 7, 2010 at 22:36 | Report abuse |
    • USMAwife

      Okay FarLeft, and what incentive would these oh so horrible companies have for funding the millions that they put into developing new medications?? This isn't a utopian society, so warm fuzzies probably won't cut it.

      August 8, 2010 at 01:07 | Report abuse |
    • ApeHanger

      Why should health care earn a profit _at all_?

      Krista, I don't know what you do for a living but may I suggest you take a reduction in pay so you just "break even." By setting example like this for everyone else, who knows? Maybe drug prices will come down.

      August 9, 2010 at 00:48 | Report abuse |
  26. Linda O

    We can take care of immigrants that come to this country illegally but we can't take care of our own. What's wrong with this picture?

    August 7, 2010 at 15:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ApeHanger

      Who says the illegals are getting costly cancer drugs? Do you have any proof of that?

      August 9, 2010 at 00:50 | Report abuse |
  27. 1012162028410

    Yes, tear each other apart! Don't focus on your real enemies! You won't see them until you are already enslaved. Suckers!!!

    August 7, 2010 at 15:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Allen Wollscheidt

    There is another side to this.

    The present process of developing drugs is a crude and inefficient one, pretty much cave-man style, cut and try.

    We need to devote more effort to much more thoroughly UNDERSTANDING the functions of the human body so that the development of a new and TARGETED drug can be pretty much a routine matter with a relatively predictable outcome. Long, involved and uncertain clinical trials would then be found to be unnecessary. With that, costs go way, WAY down.

    August 7, 2010 at 17:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. rrock

    I wonder what is the cost limit is where you cannot expect the government to provide free meds? 5k a month, 10k a month, 100k a month. At some point you have to draw the line.

    August 7, 2010 at 18:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. IMHO

    No, Phillip Bias. YOU are dead wrong. Medicare recipients have been "hitting the donut hole" earlier and earlier, for years - long before the current administration came into office. The reason was unchecked and unchallenged pharmaceutical costs. The solution, to allow medicare to use its vast purchasing muscle to negotiate better prices for us citizens, was blocked by industry lobbyists and conservative legislators in both houses. In point of fact, a recent report on the state of the health of Social Security and Medicare found that the Obama administration's sweeping health care overhaul will extend the life of the medicare hospital fund by 12 years: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/08/05/politics/main6746131.shtml. You need to get your facts straight before merely regurgitating party rhetoric and campaign talking points.

    August 7, 2010 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Spencer

    I have a painful condition and old, cheap pain meds work fine. But they are too DANGEROUS I'm told. So doctors always push something else - something way more expensive, that doesn't work. Interestingly, after those drugs are around long enough to go generic and cheap, drug companies figure out that they were DANGEROUS too!! But they always help me out by coming out with something newer, that's very expensive, and still doesn't work.

    August 7, 2010 at 19:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Richey

    I was wondering: could America please return its poor huddled masses, those unemployed, sick and uninsurable back to Europe where at least some of them came from? A reverse Ellis Island of sorts...Europe's "socialist" governnments treat their people with more dignity and respect than the American system, which benefits only the strong and wealthy.

    August 7, 2010 at 20:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. USMAwife

    When will you people realize that healthcare is NOT a right, nor is food, shelter or anything else for that matter. If everything is given, what incentive will there be to work? Last I checked, this was not a socialized country. If your job doesn't give the necessary health benefits, find one that does. Quit expecting everything to be handed to you. The sense of entitlement IS what's wrong with this country.

    August 7, 2010 at 22:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Melissa

      You must have insurance. What about those of us who would gladly pay for it but can't get it due to preexisting illness? What about those of us recently coming into the job market (I'm just out of my M.A. program) and no job will even consider giving benefits anymore-you're either contract labor or listed as temporary so they can get around it? It isn't a sense of entitlement that is what's wrong with this country, it's the selfishness and greed that runs rampant. I'm not saying we have to have a socialist model, but when the supposed "Number One Country" in the world refuses to help its citizens and lets them die, something is wrong.

      August 7, 2010 at 23:28 | Report abuse |
    • USMAwife

      Melissa- Sometimes entering into the job market and getting insurance means that you may have to give up your "dream job" for awhile. I know that I, sadly, had to do that. There are many, many employers who offer insurance (regardless of pre-existing conditions), but they may not be the "sexy" sounding one you prefer. State and federal jobs almost always offer insurance. Have you looked into that? There are TONS available! And yes, I am insured (I actually had a choice of about 15 different insurance providers), both through my own employment with the DoD, and through my spouse's job in the private sector. And while it may not be the case with you personally, the misguided sense of entitlement IS what's wrong with this country. All anyone ever talks about is what is OWED to them simply for being Americans.

      August 8, 2010 at 00:52 | Report abuse |
  34. Jerry

    That's how we do assisted suicide here in the U.S. Don't let sick people have access to drugs and/or that would help them.

    August 7, 2010 at 23:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. kimmy bubba

    Reba, I believe the new Obamacare raises age for dependent to 24 & 28 if they are still in school....don't quote me though...pretty sure of the age 28 when you're in school though. Google it.

    August 8, 2010 at 01:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Yuliqmahbaht

    I'm alive today because I saluted the American health industry with the proverbial 'middle finger' and moved outside the country to get better healthcare and a lower premium. The Health Care industry in America is all about the bank accounts of the shareholders and the CEOs that run the industry. Then again... THAT's corporate America. Waking millions of Americans up from their American dream.

    August 8, 2010 at 02:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. redplanet

    Survival tip: low dose naltrexone is curing cancer. Shh..don't tell the cancer industry. But go prove it to yourself..google it with any type of cancer. You will find the MD's using it and they prove it works with before and after slides and presentations at NIH cancer conferences. Obamacare can go to hell along with most oncologists who get a lot of cancer drugs at low cost and resell at a nice profit. Also proven. Go find it. Oh – ldn is an Rx, off patent drug, that is non toxic and cheap and cures more than cancer. The reason: how it impacts the immune system. There is more potential money savings in that one sentence than all the BS from Obama's misguided, misinformed ego driven mess.

    August 8, 2010 at 03:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Susan Neely

    Novartis underwrites patients who can't afford medication.

    August 8, 2010 at 07:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Lily

    It's amazing that the sick and poor, who can't even get the basic necessities to survive, are accused of having a sense of "entitlement" by the privileged who have probably never gone without insurance a day in their lives. I submit that the ones who really have a sense of entitlement are the wealthy, who feel entitled to satisfy their desires even if it means other people have to die. Yes, I think a poor person's cancer treatment is a hell of a lot more important than your yacht or your second home. Get a grip and learn to distinguish between "wants" and "needs."

    August 8, 2010 at 07:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Russ

    "... their cases illustrate that economic factors can influence the decisions that patients with cancer make about their care," wrote Venook and co-author, Dr. Robin K. Kelley."

    No doubt Captain Obvious is Venook's and Kelley's ghostwriter.

    August 8, 2010 at 08:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. marym

    I am the owner of a small business with a health care policy with an extremely high deductible. My business is struggling in this economy and I am terrorized that if the business fails and we lose our group policy I will not be able to get an individual insurance policy due to my age and a preexisting condition...cancer. My cancer drugs are very expensive. Since I am 61 I will not be eligible for medicare for 4 more years. Obamacare has done nothing to help people in my situation. Since I have paid for medical insurance all my life, I am very angry that now when I really need it, I have no options.

    August 8, 2010 at 10:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ApeHanger

      Since I am 61 I will not be eligible for medicare for 4 more years.

      You still won't be able to afford your drugs. Most cancer treatments are infusions and are generally covered under part-A, meaning you would be treated in a hospital's outpatient infusion center, not a doctor's office or clinic. Medicare will cover 80 percent of that, minus the initial deductible (about 1100 dollars, if memory correctly serves me). Given the costs of most cancer fighting drugs and the costs of infusion and the other support procedures required to administer the drugs, you could be facing an out-of-pocket cost of 500-1000 per treatment session. If you are on a typical infusion regimen, your financial resources will be quickly decimated by the 20 percent that Medicare doesn't pay. Your only hope is to buy a Medi-Gap policy that will pick up the other 20 percent.

      August 9, 2010 at 00:13 | Report abuse |
  42. OrphanAnnie

    I only know that: (1) my close friend died at the age of 53 after not being able to afford health care for most of her life, as she never worked anywhere that offered health insurance - with proper health care she would have likely lived another 20 years or more; (2) another friend died after retiring, because on Social Security and Medicare she still had to choose between buying food and buying vital medications; and (3) if I lose my job I will very soon die, as I cannot afford to buy insulin without my insurance. And it seems like the people I know who have never been poor have the attitude that the sick and the poor should rightly die. It's often hard for me to believe that people really feel that way.

    August 8, 2010 at 10:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Dale

    A question begs to be asked. How long has it been since there has been a cure for a world disease.

    And this question begs to be asked. Why hasn’t there been any cure for big-time world diseases lately?
    The answer is, if the world comes up with cures, you kill the cash $$$ flowing to these corrupt, greedy, medical organizations, they do not care about people’s pain and miseries.
    They only care about how much money they can make off of sick people.

    People that are sick and dying will pay any thing to get better, people that can afford treatment.

    For example diabetes, millions of people have diabetes all over the world.

    There are blood glucose meters and test strips, insulin manufacturers, Avandia , Ongiyza and all of the other Medicines, specialists in diabetes.
    If a cure were to happen, think about it.
    Too much money BILLIONS of $$$ involved. SO No diabetes cure will happen.

    And it is the same way with cancer if you cure it, no Billions of $$$ coming in.

    Sick people and their miseries, are moneymakers’ BILLIONS OF $$$ coming in for the medical industry. SO NO CURE’S WILL HAPPEN .

    Washington, D.C, why was health care reform so hard $$$.

    Think about this, when somebody in Washington, DC or somebody with a lot of power and money get sick do you hear of them dying. They are insiders; they get the very best treatment.

    There are superior medical treatments available for these people.

    August 8, 2010 at 11:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • nbbiggs

      If a diabetes cure is out there, then why haven't the great socialist economies found it? Surely the incredible Canadian health care system should have found it by now. Or are they in cahouts with the captialist US drug companies?

      August 8, 2010 at 12:40 | Report abuse |
    • nibbs

      Canadians did their part, its called insulin. They also sold the patent for $1 claiming this discovery and life saving medication should belong to ALL people (not just the ones who can afford it). Look it up.

      August 8, 2010 at 18:53 | Report abuse |
  44. robin

    This Country is moving each and every day closer to Socialism. The Government is pushing for this whether you want to believe that or not. Once they begin to regulate and control everything that pertains to your life, they won't be happy. Listen to the news....watch Obama and how he is dealing with issues over in Israel...the ONE Nation he does NOT need to be messing with!!! At least not in the way he is going about it! But back to the topic at hand...do you think the Govt could control pharmaceutical companies better than they are and regulate the pricing? Of course they could!!! But the one reason they don't is because once they get us to the point where we welcome the idea of Govt paying for our healthcare etc...then they are just one step closer to control society and dictatorship! Nothing ever is what it seems...our govt is screwing us and one day they will push One World order and you won't have any choices in your life...they will be made for you!

    August 8, 2010 at 12:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Janet

    This is the typical greed condition of American health care. Why does the USA do such a horrible job caring for its citizens? The USA has turned into a Money loving disgrace! Look at health care and lifestyles in Europe and you will see the USA is a laughing stock..all for Money. A filmmaker has been reversing diabetes in people without medications and the usa drug companies do not promote the story

    Just google SPIRIT HAPPY DIET

    August 8, 2010 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. KeithTexas

    With the economy like it is and the high cost of Insurance and medications, my wife and I have gone through bankruptcy. At least that way the bankers that got the bail outs helped contribute to our medical cost. And the insurance company that wouldn’t pay for our health care got a subsidy from everyone that lost due to our financial failure.

    I don’t know as much as most of you, I don't know what the answer to the problems in America with health care are. I do know that we pay the highest prices for care that is 35th in the world. I don't see how that is right. My wife and I will do whatever we have to do to maintain the care we need and if stealing is the only way to do it, then that is what we will do.

    Or, what might work is a single payer system that would let me buy insurance that would cover 80% of our medical cost for something less than 2,000 dollars per month. That would be nice

    August 8, 2010 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Joe

    My question is: Why is it so expensive? $4500 per month, is it made of pure gold?

    August 8, 2010 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dale

      Health Care is nothing but big money business $$$.

      August 8, 2010 at 21:11 | Report abuse |
  48. Niko the Farmer

    Unfortunately nobody cares about people. The healthcare "industry" is not about making people better anymore. It's a big business, and it's all about money. A hundred years ago, you took an oath and became a doctor all because you wanted to help the sick. Today, there is no much money in the system, that curing patients is not really the focus. It's about billings. All about billings. And, only about billings.

    August 8, 2010 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Frank

    Money for more needless war's, OK. Money for universal health care and education, Socialism. What is wrong with this picture?

    August 8, 2010 at 16:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. julie

    I feel republicans should remember we vote you guess what we vote you out. why can't we work together to stop people from hurting when they are sick. Meds are so expensive and they have a nerve to put up road blacks I feel they should step aside and make room for someone like obama who is trying to get the job done and sit down and shut their mouths. How dare they stop health care. Try being hit be a hit and run driver in 2000 and hurt every day since then. I had to learn to basically walk again with the help of a chiro and doctors who cared. Why don'r republicans do that. That is what they do best isn't it. have you forgotten who you work for. You should all resign.


    August 8, 2010 at 17:44 | Report abuse | Reply
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