On the 9th of march, activists organized by a Single Payer Action Camp dragged a giant ball and chain from the American Health Insurance Plans office past the Canadian Embassy and the US Capitol to the Department of Health and Human Services. They were demanding that the failing ACA be replaced by a “Medicare for All,” single payer system as used in all other industrialized nations.
The stop at the Canadian Embassy was to emphasize that Canada’s national health care system was based on what the US had done with Medicare, except that everyone in the country is covered. Speakers pointed out that Canada is doing better than the US on life expectancy and infant mortality even while spending only half what the US does on health care per capita.
By comparison, a speaker at the Dept of Health and Human Services reminded everyone that Trump has installed former Eli Lily executive Alez Azar as head of Health and Human Services. How installing an executive of one of the corporations responsible for insane drug prices (as much as $100,000 a year for some long-term prescriptions) is supposed to lower drug prices Trump has not explained. Trump promised Azar would “lower drug prices” and deliver better healthcare but that appears to just another one of Trump’s “alternative facts.” Current Eli Lilly CEO Dave Ricks has explicitly rejected calls for lower drug prices, claiming that the current wave of high-priced drugs are “the best deal going” in healthcare. Ricks claims drug prices only appear high because increasingly they are paid directly by consumers and not insurance companies. Of course, if every drug Pig Pharma wanted to charge $100K a year for was covered by every health plan, premiums would be measured in thousands of dollars per month. Meanwhile, for decades Big Pharma’s lobbyists have ensured that programs like Medicaid and Medicare are explicitly prohibited from negotiating to demand lower drug prices. One speaker at the final rally (at HHS) pointed out that the VA’s prescription drug benefit program predated the lobbying blitz, so the VA is able to offer a total monthly cap of $8 out of pocket.
Thus Trump’s “attack” on high drug prices is presumably for public consumption only, while his true policies will surely be designed to protect Big Pharma’s profits at any price in blood and treasure. This would be consistant with other Trump policies, with who Trump is and with his history. Pay attention to Trump’s “rap sheet,” not what he tells you to believe!
Corporate healthcare is a ball-and chain!
First stop was American Health Insurance Plans, the lobbying arm of for-profit health “insurance”