Medicine, Drugs, and the HMOs

Since I left the military active duty, I have felt the pinch like all Americans do of rising health care costs and paying for prescriptions. I also now incur dental expenses. In the military, the biggest perk was the free health care, free drugs, and while quality of care was relatively okay, at least it carried the right price tag- FREE!

Now, with a growing family, and paying $XXX bi-weekly to maintain said insurances – dental and health, it seems like a never-ending cycle- between copays, Rx copays, and often getting screwed by the dentist and doctors alike on hidden costs, it seems I am always paying for something. Heaven forbid your kid be a kid because if he or she falls, just pay your $50 urgent care copay and kiss 4-5 hours of your life good bye. While you control the quality of care under our insurance by choosing who you go to see, you can’t control much else. If the docs or dentists do not find a way to screw you, trust me, the drug companies will. Recently, for example, I learned that there is no longer a generic for Albuterol- the inhaler. Post 2008 the only generic for Albuterol was pulled because of CFCs – what?! We are the biggest polluting nation due to cars, emissions, and factories in the world, and we are concerned about CFCs released from a tiny albuterol inhaler? Are you kidding me? Another ploy to screw Americans and worse, kids. Think about it – if you are a single mom or dad making about $40,000 before taxes, and now your kid has asthma and you need inhalers all the time at $35/inhaler, that really adds up.

Meanwhile, Canada can still sell Salbuterol inhalers and they are half the cost. I am not sure what these drug companies are thinking. I also hate that I have to pay a $20 copay to go see a doc just so I can get a script for something I could diagnose myself with. Why can’t I find more drugs on the open market like penicillin, or even inhalers? They are for personal limited use and trust me, abuse would be minimal if things were more readily available. The thing is – the kids that are gonna abuse drugs like cough syrup, they will continue to abuse anything- but why are we preventing 95% of the population from getting care and drugs they need just because of the few. I do not get it – wait, I do. It is all about profit, all about the bottom line and in America, it is not about the patient, the child or the sick old lady with cancer…. it truly is about the drug companies making their money, the doctor getting his or copay even though they do nothing, and the HMOs and PPOs getting their money too. In the end, who gets squeezed? The consumer- the American who is working hard, paying their premiums, and copays only to discover they really cannot afford the medicine their child needs or they need to get better. So they get sicker, or contract other diseases, and then who ends up paying when they have to rely on the State? You guessed it! The consumer – because the insurance companies will pass the cost on to them, and so will the Government through taxes. The drug companies and doctors don’t care about the patient but are more interested in getting paid as well.

I hope something can be done to overhaul our current system in America because there is no doubt it is broken. Unless you are serving in the nation’s military, you are probably an America who is getting squeezed by the doctors, the drug companies, and the insurance companies, so, it is time for change in our health care system and while I do not believe Government is the answer to all, I think the Government does need to clean up the mess… not by taking it over but rather, by regulating the industry better and perhaps passing laws to make meds more readily available which will open up generics. Perhaps passing laws to regulate the health and drug industry will help and we deifnitely more options in healthcare so companies can clean up their act if they want your business or your employer’s business.

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