by Mark Angelides
In a recent interview with CNN’s Newsroom with Brook Baldwin, Montel Williams took the opportunity to express how angry he feels about the new Health Care Act. And while debate from every side should be present in the formulation of legislation, his comments suggest that he is either willfully ignoring the acts, or is perhaps just ignorant.
In the opening lines he says:
“They (the Republicans) want to go back and see if they can find a less expensive medication; well the bottom line is There Is No Less Expensive Medication”. And then goes on to say that they are suggesting that he comes of his medication. He goes further and states that by 2020 there will be 140,000,000 Americans who need medication and that they won’t be getting it.
Here’s the problem: The US pays a ridiculous amount of money for medication precisely because of the involvement of Insurance companies. The US pays an enormous premium for drugs because the drug companies want to make more money; if someone is looking into getting the same drugs for less money, why are people not supporting this?
Here’s the video:
According to Business Insider in July, 2016: “National health expenditures will hit $3.35 trillion this year, which works out to $10,345 for every man, woman and child. The annual increase of 4.8 percent for 2016 is lower than the forecast for the rest of the decade.” These figures come from the Department of Health and Human Services. To give you a comparison, according to the Office for National Statistics, the UK spent around 2,700 GBP per person (that’s less than half the US cost).
The saddest part is that despite massively more spending, life expectancy in the US remains much worse than in the UK. The money being spent is being spent badly and wastefully and ailing to achieve the desired results: a healthy, long life.
And those who live in the northernmost States…How many people hop over the border to Canada to get cheaper medication?
So when Montel (and many others) espouse the idea that the US cannot get cheaper medication, it is not because “There Is No Less Expensive Medication”, but rather that Americans do not have equal access to it. But surely he must know this? He is a smart guy, clearly, so why push this idea that will have only one result…poor people pushing back at policies that might make the availability of cheap drugs easier and more affordable to them. It’s irresponsible, and if Montel really cares (as he claims to), he should be informing people of the vast market in affordable, safe medication that is being denied them.
Health Care in all countries is a mess. It is not going to be solved by tinkering around the edges of political expediency and public approval. The basics are that drugs are overprescribed by doctors to people that would benefit more from a better diet and a little exercise. But if someone really does need to be on medication, tan it should be sold at a price that people can actually afford.
by Mark Angelides