Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The blame game

New cancer treatments, often chemotherapy, are being developed that are available in pill form. This is easier on the patient that IV, does not require long hospital visits for infusions, and should be less expensive overall. But they aren't necessarily cheaper.

One in six senior cancer patients are not filling their oral chemotherapy prescriptions and the thought is the cost. One woman was told that she should take an oral chemo for her kidney cancer but found out the co-payment on medicare was $2400 - which she could not afford.

And the blame game begins: "Private insurance companies that deliver the Medicare prescription benefit say the problem is that drug makers charge too much for the medications, some of which were developed from taxpayer-funded research. The pharmaceutical industry faults insurers, saying copayments on drugs are higher than cost-sharing for other medical services, such as hospital care.

Some analysts blame the design of the Medicare prescription benefit itself, which allows insurers to put expensive drugs on a “specialty tier’’ with copayments equivalent to 25 percent or more of the cost of the medication."

So with which part of this system do you not have a problem?

Isn't insurance supposed to help pay for medical costs? Are the pharma companies a bit too rich these days? Perhaps Medicare needs to take a look at how they cover prescriptions? I think all three parts need to be fixed and they should stop playing the 'blame game' and grow up and solve the problem before more people die at their doorsteps. Sorry for the harsh word but that's the reality.

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