Medical costs in the U.S. are ridiculous

Brad Jennings
Posted 1/28/22

It has become common for us to see our friends on social media having GoFundMe campaigns for health care issues. It is a very sad reality in 2022.

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Medical costs in the U.S. are ridiculous


It has become common for us to see our friends on social media having GoFundMe campaigns for health care issues. It is a very sad reality in 2022.

The older I get, the more I see it. This includes people who have medical insurance and have worked for decades. We need to face the fact that medical costs in the U.S. are ridiculously high, and even the best insurance is not a cure for that.

One area that is especially costly is prescription drugs. I know people who are on prescriptions that cost hundreds and even thousands a month. There are too many people in this country who must decide whether to pay for their medicine or food on any given week.

It makes me sad and angry.

But Congress won’t do anything about it. Pharmaceutical companies have very deep pockets, so those lobbying dollars are not something members of Congress want to do without. In fact, two-thirds of Congress – 302 members of the House and 72 Senators – cashed checks from the pharmaceutical industry ahead of the 2020 election, one survey found.

We are talking about Republicans and Democrats from all over the country.

It is hard for rank-and-file Americans who are barely making it day to day due to the high cost of often life-saving drugs to have their voices heard. In Washington, money talks.

There have been many stories about the same drug being $100 in the U.S. and only $12 in Mexico or Canada. There are many reasons – more competition, subsidies from the government, less regulation – but it is clear there are some huge cost differences.

That is why people flood over the border into Mexico (or Canada) to buy lower cost prescription drugs or to have medical or dental procedures. It is cheaper. Some people might want a wall along our southern border, but many others want a pipeline for affordable prescription drugs.

Someone is doing something about it. A politician? No. A doctor? No. Actually, it is Mark Cuban. Recognize the name? He is the billionaire owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, and he has recently launched an online pharmacy aimed at bringing down the price of prescription drugs.

I had read something last year about this but had forgotten about it until I read a few stories about the site in the last week or so. It will sell generic drugs purchased directly from the manufacturers. The drugs will them be sold online with a 15 percent markup and fee. I have read that pharmaceutical companies usually mark up prices at least 100 percent. Often it is much more.

How much will the savings be? From what I read it could be substantial. For instance, a common cholesterol drug that sells for $55 will be sold on the site for under $4. A drug used to treat leukemia that retails for more than $9,000 per month will sell for $47 per month.

I am not shilling for the new site but am simply pointing out a couple of things. First, this is good news for many Americans struggling under the weight of expensive prescriptions. Second, we must do something about the health care system in this country.

We can’t rely on one billionaire to save us. Most can’t even be bothered to pay their fair share of taxes. But Congress needs to do something, and we must make sure that it does.

Brad Jennings is the editor of the Ogle County Life.