The Washington Post reported two unrelated stories that, considered together, demonstrate a concerted effort by large drug companies and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to kill health care reform. The reports are disturbing and reveal two major challenges to controlling health care costs in the U.S.
First–and most disturbing–the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in concert with other unidentified business groups, are funding an “economic study” showing that health care reform would destroy jobs and worsen the economy.
Supposedly, a respected economist would do the dirty work of writing letters to other economists encouraging them to squash health care reform legislation now under consideration in Congress.
Second–and equally disturbing–the New England Journal of Medicine just published a study that, for the third time, claims Zetia and Vytorin, two cholesterol drugs with worldwide sales exceeding $4.5 billion dollars, are less effective unclogging arteries than a modified version of vitamin B3. Merck, the manufacturer, denies the study’s conclusion, of course.
It’s becoming clearer each day as health care legislation moves through Congress that our country is not united on changing a health care system that’s bringing us quickly to financial ruin.
The Russ Limbaughs of the world blabbering away on radio, shouting trite diatribes against Obama and Democrats who support change, is one thing. But it’s totally irresponsible for business groups and gargantuan drug companies to destroy our country for the financial benefit of stockholders and drug executives.
Excessive political and social influence by drug barons and unnamed “business groups” is not acceptable in a democracy. To argue that health care reform will eliminate jobs and ruin our economy is not only illogical; it clearly demonstrates the desperation of misinformed business leaders to halt structural changes leading to a healthier population and an economically stronger nation.
For years, drug manufacturers have done everything in their power–spending millions–to halt health care legislative reform. As a result, the cost of prescription medications has soared into the stratosphere, directly raising insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs to consumers. Seniors on Medicare, in particular, have suffered the most as supplemental insurance has drained the pockets of those most in need.
It’s time to put an end to this deliberate, obnoxious strategy of companies and individuals who benefit from the sickness of their fellow citizens.