By Brian McKay
This week saw a lot of outrage over the decision of the Mylan CEO to jack the price of an EpiPen by 400% and give herself an $18 million bonus. It was outrage well placed as an EpiPen can mean the difference between life and death for many. Holding the life of a child over a barrel would typically be considered an unethical business practice.
What has been prompted by this story is again the question, “Why is our health for sale?”
It is for sale. To the highest bidder. Want competition in big pharma to fix the mess? Won’t happen. Can’t happen. In fact, the whole system can neither be fixed by or based upon competition at all.
Competition is great in some areas. Do I want to see competition among pizza places? Of course. I want a good pizza.
Competition can really stink in others though. Private fire departments didn’t work so well in the 1880’s. Can’t pay us? We’ll let it burn. Can’t pay the prescription cost or the doctor’s fee? Well your health can just burn too.
It seems that competition in health care has worked so well that the U.S. is 37th in the world. The 36 nations before us even include Costa Rica and that horrible place, Canada. In fact, we spend twice as much as number one France (17.5 percent in 2014) for far worse results. Where again is the advantage of competition?
Smart business would actually say that if a model exists that costs far less and provides better results, you go with it. The people that want government run as a business might need to realize this. Those of us that want a government that leads the world in compassion for its most vulnerable would be extremely satisfied as well.
Not only does cutting our GDP expenditure in half save money but it leaves money to ignite other areas of the economy that have higher ratios of employees per dollar spent. The velocity gets ratcheted up and that GDP thing that measures how fast money is moving, goes up with it.
Many argue unproven concepts for which no actual estimates exist. Something thrown around is opening up health insurance to compete across state lines. Again competition is proposed as the fix with no numbers to back it. The better model already exists. Why not run with that? Why are we so scared of the best fix? Oh that’s right, Republicans have a communist conspiracy theory for it. Obviously they prefer harboring ridiculous conspiracies to enacting change that stops people from needlessly dying.
The United States also comprises the majority of big pharma’s profits. Essentially we pay for everyone else. With years of patent protection there is no way the specific drug is open for that coveted competition. While there is no objection to companies making money, making exorbitant amounts while locking out our poorest is reprehensible.
The myth for years has been that citizens from other countries come here for their health care and that you could die before being admitted in other countries. Feelings are fun. Feelings taken from a crappy commercial on Fox News are even more fun for some, but the stats support none of those feelings. Yes, in France or Germany you have access to health care, its excellent and you needn’t worry about ending up bankrupt. Sounds pretty damn good doesn’t it. Walmart could actually plan on their under paid employees at least being able to see the doctor in order to keep working hard to deliver lower prices.
Obamacare has made some difference in that at least more people are insured. The dramatic cost increases that others say it has produced haven’t happened. Not yet at least. They will as insurers have been leaving the exchanges. What was an attempt to do better became a silly compromise that Republicans liken to the Holocaust on a regular basis. Honestly, all it does is suck a little bit less than the shit that came before it.
Its time. The inhumanity of leaving our most vulnerable without the care they need while spending at least double of everyone else equals nothing less than insanity. We can do better and our health is not a profit center.
Please feel free to write the greedy bitch at Mylan and tell her to go fuck herself. You may certainly use my name.
Brian McKay is a co-founder of zenruption. As an MBA he thinks capitalism can be great when used responsibly, kind of like alcohol. Oh that’s right, he has often violated that principle. The results usually speak for themselves the next morning.
Feature photo courtesy of Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license