Drug costs, and the prescription drug billPosted by Sharon W on 7/10/03 at 10:32 (123945)
We have all experienced these price increases for ourselves – whether we are seniors, or not. Unfortunately, it sounds as if the drug company lobbyists have prevailed and there will be no federal limits placed on these price increases...
I was, however, interested in the part discussing the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill to provide drug coverage for Seniors. (excerpts follow)
Drug Prices for Seniors on the Rise: Report
By Julie Rovner
'WASHINGTON (Reuters Health) - The prices of the 50 prescription drugs most commonly prescribed to senior citizens in the U.S. rose nearly 3.5 times faster than inflation in 2002, according to a report released Wednesday.'
'Democratic members of the Senate, who joined Pollack in releasing the report, said it argues for quick action on a Medicare prescription drug bill, which is currently heading for negotiations to reconcile different versions passed by the House and Senate last month.'
'The Senators noted how dramatic the differences are in costs for low-income Americans under the House and Senate bills.'
'For example, a person with an income under the federal poverty line ($8,980 per year) with drug costs of $2,698 annually would pay $74 under the Senate bill for their drugs, but $1,084 under the House version. An individual with income at the poverty line who has drug costs of $5,201 annually would pay $148 under the Senate bill, and $3,299 under the House version.'
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billBevN. on 7/10/03 at 11:24 (123949)
It is really sad, however I know once my husband is retired, our insurance is gone and there goes our medical coverage. How will we be able to afford all of our meds? I wil be one of those taking half a pill a day or a pill every other day like a lot of retirees are doing if we are not able to afford the $800.00 a month insurance coverage on our own ( which I can't figure out how we ever could). The government surely is not about to help us :( We can go to Canada to get some of the meds as many are doing , bus loads go there every day .
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billmarie on 7/10/03 at 14:50 (123955)
Oh Bev, I am so sorry to hear that you are having these struggles. I do hope they pass the Senate bill soon. I have mentioned our friend who has inoperable cancer. He moved to Arizona for a while so he could run to Mexico to get his medications and treatments. He lost his job while he was out with his brain tumor surgery and lost all his coverage. Now that his cancer is inoperable he quit treatment he's just going to let nature take its course. He is back in Florida now working with a very, very famous country musicans show. He would really like to move back here in August and I hope he does. I told him we're close to Canada and will be happy to take him there for treatment if needed. We'll take you guys too. It could be a caravan to Canada. We have had so many of our friends call us and sincerely want to help with his needs. Small towns are great.
Take care Bev. What kind of nursing did you do? My sis works at a nursing home in Ohio just across the border.
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billEd Davis, DPM on 7/10/03 at 17:33 (123984)
One of my fears is that once Medicare covers drugs, they will determine the price. Drug companies will then raise the cost of those drugs to non-Medicare patients to make up the difference.
Unfortunately, 'band-aids' on the system do not pay attention to the underlying causes of the problem. Tort reform and reform of certain FDA policies is needed to moderate drug prices. Until that occurs I do not expect significant progress in this area.
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billEd Davis, DPM on 7/10/03 at 17:40 (123990)
I certainly hope that your friend is on Medicare. If not and if they pass the Senate bill, his price for medications will probably rise. Medicare generally fixes the reimbursement levels for various services. If they are mandating substantial discounts from the drug companies (that has been their history, very consistently) then drug companies will probably compensate by raising prices to non-Medicare covered individuals.
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billSharon W on 7/10/03 at 18:50 (124003)
That ALREADY happens to anyone who doesn't have prescription drug coverage. Every time we get a prescription filled, they list the full price, and then the DISCOUNTED price that the INSURANCE pays. If you don't have insurance with prescription coverage, you have to pay a lot more for them than any insurance company would pay. For an awful lot of folks, that cost is prohibitive, so the prescription never gets filled. It seems backwards to me -- but the same thing happens at the doctor's office.
The insurance company gets a MUCH better price for a doctor's services, than a person who can't afford insurance could. The insurance company sails on through with a nice BIG price break, but some waitress struggling to raise her kids alone will always have to pay the full bill... How is that fair, or right??? (What ever happened to giving PATIENTS a little bit of a break, if you know they're going through hard times?) Why is it, that the people who really get SQUEEZED are honest folk who don't have much money but always pay their bills?
Sorry, Dr. Ed, to rant on like that... I know you aren't responsible for the system that creates these inequities! I guess I just tend to get a bit carried away, when it comes to this subject.
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billmarie on 7/10/03 at 21:32 (124019)
He's not on medicare. Unfortunately he works and makes a good income. He is in the midst of changing jobs so he has to wait until his new insurance kicks in. But if he moves back here for the remaining time he has I am sure we'll have to explore every option available. He's a sweetheart all who know him love him. He's an incredibly generous man. I suppose that's why most of his closest friends are some of the biggest celebrities in our country. They can trust him to be a real friend. My goal is to help him get his life recorded on tape. It'll make for a very interesting book...I hope it will help with his medical bills.
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billmarie on 7/10/03 at 21:43 (124021)
Sharon you have raised a good point. There are many hard working folks out there that don't have insurance and are barely making enough to get by. They aren't on welfare and cudos to them! Couldn't doctors fees be based on income or at least give a break to folks who are at say a certain income level and working? My neighbor, Doc, is a doctor from the good old days. Although he's 80 the Amish in our community still knock on his door when they need medical attention. It is great to live next door to someone like him. The Amish pay him with baked goods and handy man kinds of repairs on his house. I have many many good friends that are doctors and I am proud to include Doc as one of them. How did that Beatle's song end .....'and in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.'
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billEd Davis, DPM on 7/10/03 at 23:40 (124037)
You are absolutely correct about those who have no drug coverage. It is also true for those who have lousy insurance plans that don't cover a lot of important drugs.
Doctors often give substantial discounts to cash patients. I have heard some legal opinions that state that that cannot be done.
I have a number of uninsured patients in my practice and they get the best fee I can offer them. Occasionally we barter services. I recently did surgery on a construction worker's wife who had not insurance. We swapped the surgery fro remodeling a room in my office.
The working poor are in the worst situation when it comes to health care. They cannot get Medicaid because they are working too hard. It is a tragedy that only a liberal Democrat could love.
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billEd Davis, DPM on 7/10/03 at 23:44 (124038)
Every decent doctor wants to do what they can for the working poor. We often treat them for free or at substantial discounts and give them waht ever drug samples are available. The FDA's restrictions often severely restrict the drug samples we can recieve. The liability crisis is driving costs up. mandated cost shifting, that is, forcing doctors to give discounts to those who really don't need it makes it harder to give dicounts to those in need. Thank your liberal Democrat friends for this mess!
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billEd Davis, DPM on 7/10/03 at 23:45 (124039)
Just curious. Why did he not go on Cobra? It is a way to continue insurance between jobs.
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billEd Davis, DPM on 7/11/03 at 00:34 (124048)
I am not able to get samples of Neurontin in my office because the FDA does not allow the manufacturer to provide sample to those who would use it only for nerve pain. My uninsured patients are heavily dependent on such samples. My diabetic patients with diabetic neuropathy cannot be provided with samples of Neurontin.
Lack of tort reform is driving up costs as is governmemt mandated cost shifting. When Bill Gates turns 65 I must treat him at reduced Medicare rates. That makes it harder to give discounts to the working poor who really need it.
Who once said, 'If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem?' Those who rail against tort reform, FDA reform and who favor expansion of innapropriate cost shifting mechanisms, ie. expansion of Medicare are part of the problem.
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billmarie on 7/11/03 at 07:46 (124054)
He did tell us his doctor's visits were still covered for a while. I am not sure if he is on cobra or not. Cobra doesn't come for free. It's very expensive to continue for someone who is out of work. I checked into it when I first got RIFd. I was stunned at the cost and it only lasts for a year. I may be wrong on that so feel free to educate me further.
Our friend has never had the luxary of perscription coverage. I have no idea what medication he is on right now. All I know is that it makes him nautious.
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billEd Davis, DPM on 7/11/03 at 08:31 (124065)
Cobra can be expensive but, at times, the cost can be less than paying the cost of medical treatment out of pocket. My wife was pregnant with our son when on Cobra so we stayed on it for the nine months necesary for maternitry care and delivery -- we obviously got our money's worth.
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billBevN. on 7/11/03 at 08:48 (124073)
I was a nurse in an Ob/Gyn office for the last 11 years and in home care before that and in hospitals before that , and a full time mama before that. Now I am a nothing with sore feet . I am a very blessed grandmother with precious grandchildren and wonderful family that I adore and a wonderful husband . The only problem as the same as everywhere is the economy. We never thought our economy would be in the condition it is today. So many companies have shut down and millions of layoffs across the country. I feel so very sorry for all of those families everywhere. My heart goes out to them and I feel like my problems are nothing compared to what many of them are going through :( I no longer can work as I can not get around well , so I have lost my income and insurance and all. Things are very shaky at the plant my husband works at , so it is really scary :( If his job goes there goes our insurance and then what :-/ It is a very scary situation that so many people are facing today , and we never thought that we would be in this spot also. Never take your health for granted, that's for sure ,it is pretty scary what can happen if something happens and you are not able to work. Fortunaly we do not have any large debt, our home and cars are paid for , just large taxes and all of that stuff everyone else has to deal with day to day .
I feel sorry for poor Ed now after reading how hard he works ~~~ 80 hours a week ~~ and for such little pay , he shouln't have to work so many hours , his family needs to see him more . He need to stop and 'smell the flowers' more :) Nothing is more important in life than our precious loved ones :) Marie you are so sweet to help out others in need . By reading your posts it sounds as if you have been doing that your whole life , you have lived a fulfilling life for others and for yourself. Have a very nice day today :) Bev
Re: BevKathy G on 7/11/03 at 11:39 (124088)
You are far from a 'nothing with sore feet!' x-( It is obvious from your posts that you are a caring, intelligent wife and mother who, through no fault of her own, has had to give up her career. You didn't ask for this to happen; it just did! Don't beat yourself up over it.
Many of us know exactly how you feel. When I stopped working, I went through periods of feeling worthless. You feel as though you should be contibuting something to society in general and and to your income specifically. But no matter, you have to do the best you can and at this time, you are physically unable to work. You are there for your children and your grandchildren, not to mention your husband.
I, like you, was a full-time mother and enjoyed every minute of it. When I went back to work, I went back part-time as this worked into our lifestyle better. I loved my job and I miss it terribly. But I've gotten past feeling that my job defined me and I really think that's how I felt when I first stopped working.
I think that part of the problem is that there are so few women who stay at home nowadays. For me, that's a huge problem. All of my friends work and I'm not old enough to be active with senior citizens so I'm kind of in limbo.
I'm so sorry that you are worried about your husband's job. That is so upsetting and coupled with your pain and frustration at your condition, I can see how you can get down. But remember, we think you are an important part of our 'community' on these boards and we welcome your wisdom and kindness! :)
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billmarie on 7/11/03 at 11:42 (124090)
I really don't know the extent of our friends medical coverage. I guess I haven't asked him outright...it's kinda personal. I know that he had temporary coverage but couldn't tell you if it was cobra. You were smart to keep it while your wife was pregnant. The cost of childbirth is very expensive. I hate to say it but you'd be surprised at how many weddings happen after the couple has their children. A single woman can get help while she is pregnant. A married woman cannot.
Re: BevKathy G on 7/11/03 at 11:42 (124091)
By the way, I think it's so funny that Dr Kiper's product gets a plug every time any one of us writes the word 'wisdom.':))
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billmarie on 7/11/03 at 12:29 (124103)
Bev you are a well needed person on this board. We don't ever want to hear that you think you're a nothing. We need you here.
As for Ed I feel bad for anyone that has to work 80 hours a week. I do hope he makes time for his family. And it is so nice that the doctors come here to chat with us. As I have said they deserve an extra $50,000. a year for that alone. I hope it gives them a place to vent a little and have some distraction from their daily lives.
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billmarie on 7/11/03 at 12:39 (124107)
I'm not a liberal democrat...I thought you saw my test results. I view some Republicans to be more liberal than many Democrats. President Bush is taking a beating right now because Republicans think he is to liberal. The fact of the matter is that most presidents are pretty middle of the road. It shows that our system does work. I am all for reform to help doctors but the reform should focus on those that abuse the system.
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billSharon W on 7/11/03 at 13:27 (124117)
I fear you might be right about not making any progress on Medicare drug coverage, or on the cost drugs for those who don't have insurance, until some major tort reforms are instituted.
The thing is -- I respect, admire, and value elderly people. It just broke my heart, as a hospital nurse, every some sweet, wise, grandmotherly (or grandfatherly) patient 'confessed' to me that he/she just hadn't been able to afford the blood pressure medicine, or the hypoglycemic medicine, or the heart medicine, that would have kept her OUT of the hospital... That's just not right; our older citizens deserve better than that. And the cost of those hospitalizations that wouldn't have been necessary if the patients could have afforded the drugs they needed, must SURELY be higher than the price of the drugs themselves.
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billmarie on 7/11/03 at 13:53 (124123)
I used to work for a printing company in Indianapolis. One of our accounts was a very large pharmaceutical company...I'm sure I don't have to tell you which one. I was an art director for a magazine. When the magazine wraped up (those were 80-90 hour weeks I usually slept in my editors office when it was really crazy) any way......when I finished I would go to the paste-up department and help them get caught up. It was nice mindless activity like gardening so it relaxed me. I use to paste-up their wholesale drug prices. You would be shocked at the difference in the wholesale prices and what we pay. I know pharmacists have alot of expenses as well so I am not judging them. In the case of some medication that I was taking at the time the wholesale price was .04 ea tablet. I was paying $1.45. It was an incredible mark up.
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billSharon W on 7/11/03 at 13:59 (124124)
I'm sure they charge those incredibly marked-up prices BECAUSE THEY KNOW THAT THE INSURANCE COMPANIES WILL ONLY PAY A CERTAIN PERCENTAGE OF WHAT THEY CHARGE.
I had a patient once that I was taking care of, who happened to be in the medical supplies business, one that sells to hospitals. I got her talking about the mark-up from their wholesale prices... Let's just say, it was equally ridiculous! And hospitals DON'T get the huge price discounts that the big insurance companies do.
Re: BevBevN. on 7/11/03 at 14:19 (124125)
Thankyou, that is sweet of you :) I felt so badly today when my 6 yr. old grandson called and wanted me to come and get them today. They have a sitter as their mother is working full time this week (other girl is on vacation). They are used to going and doing things with their mother and not being home all week, and they do not like it. However I am having a b-a-d feet day and can't take care of them today, and I cried that I had to tell them I couldn't care for them today, just broke my heart. These dumb feet, I hate this dumb pain x-( We had the boys
last night as my husband was here to help me entertain them while their mother shopped and their dad was still working. I took an extra pain pill yesterday so I could vaccum and today I am paying for it, can't get away with anything :(
I do have several groups at church I could join if I wanted to , however I am not up to going out much now(I had to quit them when this all started) . Maybe later when I get this pain under control and I am feeling better I will join some again as long as they understand that I can not offer much help when it comes to working on things that require 'feet'. Right now I only go out using a cane to get around for short jaunts or hubby pushes me along in the w/c for long jaunts, so I do not do much of anything now. I do volunteer work for the church and a few other organizations that I can do here at home, paper work and stuff, that's all.
We have a busy summer with the children and grandchildren coming to visit from out-of-town often and family parties off and on . Hubbys class reunion(pig roast) and anniversary parties(lake party). I have 2 weekend church retreats coming up in Sept. (they w/c us around and take great care of us) , one with my daughter in one town and one with my daught-in-law down state (her friend will be driving us). Hubby and I have a weekend conference and retreat away in October for another volunteer organization at a fabulous resort we attend every year . They also have w/c there for us to use . We usually go to my sisters in Alabama for Thanksgiving holidays for the week (her treat). Wow, before you know it we will have a housefull for the Christmas holidays again, time sure does go by fast, dosen't it? I sure do ramble on too , don't I .Guess I had better hush for awhile :'> Bye ~~ Bev
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billEd Davis, DPM on 7/11/03 at 15:02 (124134)
I have had a number of instances where I had provided diabetic patients with prescription antibiotics, only to have the insurance company refuse to pay. Unfortunately they wound up on IV antibiotics after the infection got worse -- very frustrating and expensive.
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billEd Davis, DPM on 7/11/03 at 15:07 (124135)
Thank you for your comments. Doctors put in the hours because, in part, they want to as we enjoy what we do. I think we would still like to work a bit less and have more time for our families. It takes a lot of hours of work to cover the overhead and to do administrative work. Few patients realize the amount of administrative work created by third parties to enusre that their services get covered.
Re: Drug costs, and the prescription drug billBevN. on 7/11/03 at 19:16 (124154)
Boy do I know the paper work. It seemed as if there were more girls doing the administrative side of things in the office than there were nurses in our office. The billing also is a full time job, and to learn all of the codes ,by the time she learned them all, they would change things and she would be heading to another seminar to learn all the new stuff. Don't you have an office staff to do that for you?
Re: For Bevmarie on 7/11/03 at 19:32 (124157)
Some practices are to small for that. I do know a dentist who shuts down two weekday afternoons to do all the paperwork. He hated to do it but he couldn't afford to have it done anymore and all the extra hours was killing his family life. He lost a little income but told me it was well worth it. There is always a trade off. My sister-in-law is a RN for an orthopedics group in Ft. Wayne. She did all the administrative paperwork for years. You're so right as soon as she'd think she had it down then the insurance companies would change the codes or companies would change their insurance. Bev have you thought about the administrative end of nursing? My sister is going that route and is signed up for some classes. Her legs are shot and it's becoming more and more difficult for her to be on her feet. I think about you often. I remember during one of my bad spells you told me you'd come up here and give me a hug. That meant alot to me at the time and I may have forgotten to tell you just how much it made my day. Thanks.
We don't always agree with each other but I still say the folks and doctors here are the best in the universe.
Re: Bevmarie on 7/11/03 at 19:45 (124163)
>:D< this hug is for you! I owe you one. Now no more vaccuming....I know all this ugly weather we have had is getting old. Have you had any flooding where you are at? Fort Wayne and south of there is a mess. It's starting to get bad up here hope it doesn't rain for a few more days.
Take care sweetie....don't know what I'd do without my fellow midwesterner.
Re: For BevBevN. on 7/11/03 at 19:58 (124164)
At 57 I have no more brain cells left to go back to school to learn all of that technical side of things. I loved nursing and absolutly hated the paper-work side of things. My father always wanted me to be a teacher~~ all my life he tried to talk me into it, however all I wanted to do was nursing. I feel as if my right arm has been cut off now that I can no longer be a nurse :( Going back to school now would be so hard for me. I get so tired so easily now. I just do a bit and I need to rest and rest these feet often too. It is hard to get around for me at this time. I don't go anywhere without my sidekick (hubby or daughter) anymore.I keep thinking 'The next doctor will cure me' , well, maybe he will, right? I just keep the faith :) How are things coming with your new school? Are you getting anxious to start? How many schools will you be teaching art at? How many classes per day? I forgot what ages are you having? Memory not so sharp anymore (never really was,haha). We went out to dinner and now hubby sat down to read paper and fell asleep , so I am in den trying to keep quiet:)
Re: For Bevmarie on 7/12/03 at 09:39 (124197)
Oh I so understand where you are at. I was there for a couple of years. I remember bending down to pull a small weed from my garden and I ended up on the sofa for a week. It's hard to concentrate on much of anything when you're hurting. I will be teaching grades 4-12. It'll be interesting to see how I go from my nice teacherly voice with the elementary kids to my firm commanding voice for middle school and finally my firm but really cool but in charge voice for high school kids. It's been so long since I have had elementary I hope I don't make anyone cry. I'm use to kids that are bigger than me that I have to order around but still have fun with.
Teaching can be rewarding. But it certainly isn't for the faint of heart. Kids can be really mean and they don't recognize how they affect others.
When i first came to this board I was going crazy because I had to sit arund on my butt all the time and I was frustrated. Someone here suggested I try some crafts. I am not a crafty person because I can't follow someone elses instructions I have to design my own craft projects. That's when I took up pillow making. Well some 30 pillows later my family is saying enough already. I just finished making some pillows for my son's dorm room out of some college t-shirts i picked up on sale. He is living on campus this summer doing an RA gig. He is keeping the same room and this year he is letting me redo it. I love decorating. We just finished a large Beatles collage on the wall. His room is looking much better. They are so funny at this age...learning how to be on their own. Last year he and I were out to lunch and he told me his room was really starting to smell. So I asked him if he and his room mate cleaned it. He looked at me funny and said 'No we bought an airfreshener.' Now he said it smells like summer Breezey must smell. It was all I could do to keep from rolling around on the floor of the restaurant laughing,
Stay comfortable!!!!! And no more vacuuming for you. It will get better.
Re: For Bevjohn h on 7/12/03 at 10:16 (124203)
Marie you underestimate yourself. You are indeed a 'crafty' person. What I want to know is which voice you speak with on the board? hmmm?
Re: For Bevjohn h on 7/12/03 at 10:25 (124206)
Bev I went back to college at 37 and got straight A's for two years. My younger days in college ivolved girls,sports and nights on the town and if I had any time left over I might look at a text book. If you go back and just plain study you are ahead of 99% of the young students. I could not believe how easy college was the second time around. It is amazing what listening to the teacher, taking notes, and studying will do.
Re: For Bevmarie on 7/12/03 at 10:37 (124208)
Mostly my smiling voice as I very rarely get rattled except that one time. People always ask me how I can remain so calm when a kid calls me an Fing B. Others would rip their head off. I don't know....maybe because I grew up in an abusive home that was more like a combat zone. I love my parents and forgave them long ago.
I grew up all around this country as we moved alot. I lived in a houshold that my brother has labeled the loud family. I was the mello one of the group. It was survival. Others I am sure do not view me as mello more fisty...is that how that's spelled? I know I am a much worse speller then Dr. Z. You should see all the letters my brother saved that he recieved from me while in Vietnam. He read them at our wedding reception. I am outspoken but I do my best to see others point of view. I have been approached on more than one occasion to run for city council where I live. Unfortunately those requests have all come from Republicans, boy are they shocked to find out I'm a Democrat. I have no real interest in politics, it's just that when change is needed to improve our community I am usually at the forefront. As I have said before I have a hard time sitting on the sideline when a situation calls for action. So I suppose I use all those voices I have while teaching on the boards...just depends on the personality I am dealing with.
odios mi amigo,
Senora Maria E.
PS: I don't spell any better in Spanish!
Re: For BevBevN. on 7/12/03 at 12:01 (124220)
That is so cute about your sons dorm room, my son wouldn't let me near his room, he would have been so embarrassed.His grandmother made him his quilt and pillows for college . He shared a 6 bedroom college apartment with a bunch of guys that were pretty messy and so he spent a lot of his time at his sisters apartment with her and her friends as our daughter was attending the same college at the time. He got good meals there and she would do his laundry and they would hang out together.They fought like cats and dogs at home but when they went away to college, they were best of friends, figure that :)
I know what you mean about craft projects too. My family said enough too when it came to the crochet afghans and planters . I made those till I can't stand to look at a crochet hook ever again. But I do love to decorate also. I like the Better Homes and Gardens and I got so many ideas out of them and did our new house up from a lot of the ideas I saved over the years.
I missed the special last night. It was 9:00 when it was posted here that it was on, so I turned Dateline on at 9:00, and it was not about neurontin, so I guess I missed that one. My time here in Lower Northern Michigan must be different than some of your times, or my programs are just different. However reading from the posts, it sure sounds like good news :)
Everyone have a very nice weekend and thankyou for all of your kind and tender and caring thoughts :) Bev