Latest News | Feb 19, 2021

There is something very wrong with the American health care system.

My name is Kirk and I live in Bowling Green, Kentucky. I’m 52 years old and am self-employed. I’ve worked hard and enjoyed being productive my entire adult life. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to be self-employed and be successful and happy in my career. I am fully living the American dream. Our freedom allows us so many opportunities and I thank God for them all. 

Having diabetes type 2, I have quickly learned that there is something very wrong with the American health care system — and it doesn’t take much effort to track the problem back to pharmaceutical corporations. It’s obvious that these companies are putting massive effort into creating monopolies on specialized drug treatments. They make the most money monopolizing drug therapies for life-threatening diseases that affect large amounts of the population. This “formula for success” finds diabetes patients ripe for the picking. 

I have an excellent doctor who takes my health care seriously. She monitors my disease and has developed a comprehensive plan to manage my illness. But the amount of time she and I must spend trying to get access to the medications I need is utterly ridiculous. 

Health insurance companies are rightfully balking at paying out-of-control prices for these drugs. This leaves my doctor having to make multiple attempts at getting drugs approved or finding alternatives that might not be as effective. And it leaves me, the patient, constantly changing drug stores to save any money possible and spending hours of my time each month tracking down manufacturer “patient assistance cards” that are obviously geared to get the maximum price a person can stand to pay without losing the sale. It’s contrived, extremely greedy, and in my opinion, evil. 

I consider myself as fitting solidly in the middle class. My career as a computer network engineer is a rewarding one and I am more than happy with my compensation. In years past, compensation at my level would ensure a worry-free, comfortable retirement. Even after the massive effort from myself and my doctor, the lowest price I pay each month is $1,000 for TWO drugs (Synjardy and Ozempic.) 

I am already cutting back on other areas of my life so I can afford these two drugs. What started out decades ago as a smart plan for a comfortable retirement has ended up being a large fund that will be necessary to simply pay for my medications in retirement — and not much else. I know many people my age who are in much worse shape retirement-wise. This leads to quite a bleak outlook for the future of our nation. Who will these companies squeeze for cash when we all run out of money?

My name is Sue Lee and I’m a 77-year-old resident of Crestwood, Kentucky. I worked in health insurance for years before I retired and I endured years of painful plaque psoriasis while I was in the workforce.

When I was prescribed Humira, I quickly discovered that it was a “miracle drug” in treating my symptoms. It helped me treat the painful sores on my body that had plagued me for years.

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However, I have been forced to stop taking Humira after learning the treatment would cost me over $8,000 a year out-of-pocket. I don’t have too large of a savings account and I live off of the fixed income provided to me by Social Security. I can’t afford to pay for Humira under any circumstances. When I was employed and under employer insurance, my copay was only $5. But with retirement and Medicare came the new, insurmountable price tag.

It just isn’t fair. I do the best I can to maintain my health. I live healthy and try to maintain an active lifestyle. I worked well past retirement and saved as much as I could. Even that couldn’t save me from these extremely high drug prices. These prices are devastating patients all around the country. If Medicare had the ability to negotiate for their beneficiaries, maybe I would be able to afford Humira. I want Medicare to be able to negotiate down the prices of necessary, life-saving drugs to help patients like me.