Why the high cost?

In debates on health-care reform, I often hear the question, "Who will pay for this?" My own question is slightly different: Where does our money for health care now go? Where has it gone for decades?

What we in this country pay for health care and medications is unconscionable.

For many years I have depended on two medications: Nasonex, a nose-spray, and Patanol, for my eyes. Because I am insured, my co-payment for Nasonex is $25; the actual cost is $131.99. The co-pay for Patanol is $50; the actual cost for this tiny bottle is $123.99.

I often spend time in Germany, my home country, where I also have taken groups of Bates College students for study abroad. I pay 13 Euros (about $19) for the same Nasonex. That is the actual price, as I am not insured in that country. For the eye drops, I pay 19 Euros (about $27).

This past fall, one student had a finger abscess that needed treatment, surgery and blood tests. He visited the doctor five times. As program director, I pay all the medical bills for the students. His total bill was only 310 Euros ($434). I have had dozens of students needing medical treatment or hospitalization in Berlin, Germany. In all cases I have been astonished by the reasonable costs for doctors, hospitals, procedures, X-rays, laboratory procedures and medications.

I'll ask my question again: Who gets the huge sums of money we here in the U.S. spend on health care?

Gerda Neu-Sokol, Lewiston

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Andrew MacIsaac's picture

Just to clarify, if

Just to clarify, if something goes wrong, a missed or wrong diagnosis for example, can the patient sue and for how much?


Typical post from Lil. Not

Typical post from Lil. Not one word on how to make the situation better. Just a long list of those to punish. Punishment, like other stuff, trickles downhill. Lil is an expert from her vantage-point at the bottom.

Mark Wrenn's picture

In America, the shareholders

In America, the shareholders and CEOs are far more important than the patients, especially those with needs but not means. We must protect the profits at all costs! Let's protect them from accountability by eliminating lawsuits over harming or ending a patient's life through incompetence. I mean c'mon, it's only one patient who didn't even have the sense to not get sick. And if we extend patent protections to 20 years the drug companies will no longer have to pay generic drug manufacturers to NOT make drugs. And when the twenty years is up, just change the name for another 20 year monopoly! Pure profit! Let's do away with state laws requiring certain conditions to be covered by insurance so we can buy useless policies from the state with the least regulation. Who will win the insurance company race to the bottom? ______________________

"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."
Winston Churchill

John Clement's picture

you want great health care

you want great health care for free? become a doctor and give it away. They don't do it for altrustic reasons, and the drug companies don't develop drugs for the warm fuzzy feeling they get from helping people, they do it to make money. If you remove the profit motive then where will the new lifesaving drugs come from? Also if American companies don't develop the drugs how much will they then cost in Germany? that is spoken like the clueless,out of touch, leftist, eletist, bates college specializes in creating.

"Always do the right thing, it will gratify some and astonish the rest"

Victoria Fimiani's picture

Wow, two awesome posts that

Wow, two awesome posts that are spot on. Currently there is a short period of time from day of application, not day of marketing, on which a patent on a drug runs out (which thereafter allows generics to copy the drug.) I think it's 7 or 10 years. This gives drug companies a relatively short time to recoup investment in R&D. Could the patent be extended to 20 years and thereby halve the cost? Also, the number of drugs to treat most diseases is more than sufficient. Drug companies seem to "reinvent" the same drugs over and over, changing just slightly some proprietary aspect of the drug, in order to have a new patent. Could this "reinvention" somehow be regulated? I know innovation is important, but how many types of steroidal nasal sprays does there need to be?


Did it ever occur to you, Ms

Did it ever occur to you, Ms Neu-Sokol, to wonder why your medications are available in Germany under the same brand name as here? Same question to folks who whine about cheap Canadian drugs. The drugs are NOT just like ours - they ARE ours.

US drug companies export their products all over the world and all those importers are glad to have them, because the cost is much lower than it would be from domestic manufacturers. The cost is very low in places like Canada, because they have instituted severe restrictions on punitive law suits, AKA tort reform. If you take your Nasonex here and all your hair falls out, chances are pretty good that you will call Joe Bornstein and sue for $100,000,000. You can't do that in Canada.

That's also why you can buy "Canadian" Nasonex for the same low price. It travels from US to Canada and back to US, but the export/import middle-men are protected by Canadian law.

But reality doesn't matter. Lets hand the whole mess to the federal government. Then we can be sure of low cost and plentiful supply. And if you believe that, I own a really nice bridge down in Brooklyn and I'll sell it to you for a special price. Call in the next 20 minutes and I'll throw in an Obama flying pig.


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