A US Today/Gallup poll on support for Heathcare Reform Bills. While the first numbers look disheartening (33% opposed to 25% supporting it), when you dig down in the numbers at how the 39% "Depends" split make a more nuanced argument. The end result is, if I read these numbers correctly, if the bill includes a "Public Option" the support for such a bill get around 60% approval (as many who said "Depends" are waiting to see if the bill includes a Public Option). If the bill doesn't, that number drops to around 50% (and probably below). The one thing that will kill either option is "Reducing Medicare Payments to Doctors." If that's included, if the bill includes a "Public Option" or not, it doesn't rise above 50% approval. However, in the Senate, a Public Option bill may not get 60 votes. Some of that could be jockeying for favors, but I still think it may be less than 60 (Lieberman and Nelson).
Here's a NPR Report on the war between Big Pharma and Big Insurance. They detail lots of the thrusts each are making against each other. And while the report ends with the thought that the consumers and consumer behavior are the real issue in this battle, I'll also point out that we're the real loser as well. No matter who wins.
Here's another NPR story on how age and gender affects group health care rates. Really, NPR has been doing a bang up job of reporting on this issue. I really wish that this time was also the same as my local NPR Fall Fund raisers (which now seem coordinated between all 3 NPR stations I can receive - ARGH!), so I'm missing a lot of these.
And at this point let me give another personal example of why we need healthcare reform, and not just health insurance reform. My wife takes thyroid replacement pills to adjust for the nuking of her thyroid back in '91 (which is a whole other argument). Now, when you tell a doctor, or someone in the know about these things, the immediate response and drug of (marketing induced) choice is Synthroid. And Bette took this for years. And we didn't know why she was having so many problems and complications. Then, because Bette is the good scientist, she found alternatives and eventually landed on a thryoid pill than didn't make her want to kill herself, Thyrolar. But, and you knew that was coming, Thyrolar and some other thyroid drugs are nearing the end of their patents (which means that generics are possibly right around the corner). So, can you guess what is happening? See, for the past several years the company that makes Thyrolar has only produced the drug in October/November. Usually sometime around August that left us requesting pills from pharmacies other than our usual one. It typically was a scramble to get enough to hold over until the newly minted pills hit the market. So when this happened earlier this year we were ready, and so was the pharmacists.
But, see, something was different this year. The company that produced the drug announced that they wouldn't be producing it this year. Understand, this is a product that sold out every single year. And they were dropping it. Officially their website states that they have to go through new specifications on a component used to make Thyrolar and that's what's causing the delay. So we looked at alternatives, not wanting to go back on Synthroid again (see note above where it didn't work well for her and left her feeling like crap, drugs are like this, for some people they just don't work well). Many of those drugs are also ending their patent protection time and, well, what do you know about that they also aren't being produced (I haven't checked them all, but how much do you want to be they also have the same, "new standards" problem). Only Synthroid continues strong in the market. Now, Synthroid lost it's patent protection a while ago, but if you start googling around for it you'll discover they've been fighting any drug's claim of "bioequivalence." Leaving Sythroid as the number one drug prescribed for thyroid replacement and the number two drug prescribed in the US (over all). And, strangely enough, they don't seem to have the same "new standards" problem. Can you say "monopoly power"?
This is the kind of thing that has me thinking about "structural integrity" and "support points" longingly and wistfully.