Final Reflections

At the begging of the semester, this was the class I was most looking forward too. As a future healthcare provider, I feel that it is important to understand the system in which providers work in. While doctors are often thought to reside at the top of the medical hierarchy there are so many individuals and factors behind the scenes that contribute to an effective medical practice. Coming into this class I had a basic understanding of the healthcare system and had read enough articles to know that the although the U.S system was one of the more prominent in the world, there still a few rough patches.

 

Overall, I left this class with an almost melancholy feeling. While I was appreciative of a greater understanding of the U.S healthcare system I could not help but think how bleak the situation had become at times. It’s hard to sugarcoat the fact that Americans are living in a fragmented consumer driven healthcare system. I hope that some day I will be able to utilize the knowledge I have learned in this class to help alleviate alleviate the power as well as profit imbalances in healthcare and overall foster a attitude of altruism.

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The Problem with Tying Healthcare to Trade

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-problem-with-tying-health-care-to-trade/

As we’ve discussed in class, pharmaceutical companies often rely on U.S patent and intellectual property laws to maintain large profits. Such patents grant companies exclusive rights to sell their drugs for extended periods of time while barring competition by generic drug manufacturers. Pharmaceutical companies say these periods without competition promote innovation, and correctly point out that the majority of drug development happens in places like the U.S. and Europe, which have strong protections and clear rewards. Meanwhile, critics stress that correlation does not equal causation, saying the toughest laws exist where companies can apply pressure to implement them. Growing evidence suggests that while patents do encourage innovation, they do it in an inefficient way.

This problem is often augmented in other countries, who often view health care not merely as a commodity but a basic human right. Take for example Peru; currently the pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers-Squibb has exclusive rights to sell Atazanavir, an antiretroviral drug. As a result, the Peruvian government pays about $10 USD per pill for atazanavir; 20 times what neighboring country Bolivia pays. Like America, Peru faces the growing problem of high cost brand name drugs, and this problem could soon take a turn for the worst.

Continue reading “The Problem with Tying Healthcare to Trade”

September Process Reflection

When I was younger, I never considered medicine beyond the realm of the doctor. They seemed like exemplary individuals; trusted for their knowledge, unwavering in their altruism, and respected within their profession as well as the overall community. However I think it was not until my freshman year that I began to take a vested interest in the workings of the United States Healthcare system. I think it all started when I read the original Stephen Brill article in TIME magazine. This article opened my eyes to an aspect of healthcare I had previously given little thought: it’s cost. Continue reading “September Process Reflection”

Are Obamacare Plans Affordable?

More than 150 million Americans a day receive benefits from employers who substantially subsidize their cost. However, for a large number of low-income individuals who are unemployed or lack job based coverage, this presents an expensive problem. This problem has been one of the main focuses of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or more commonly know as Obamacare. Since it’s introduction, the ACA has extended coverage for previously uninsured middle and low-income individuals by allowing them to shop for private plans on Web-based health exchanges, often with the help of government subsidies; an expansion of Medicaid in 29 states, plus D.C.; and by allowing young adults to stay on their parents plans until age 26. Furthermore, the success of this program is often equated to the amount of individuals the ACA’s marketplaces have insured (roughly 23 million). Yet despite the name “The Affordable Care Act”, many consumers have found that under the law their health insurance is anything but.  Continue reading “Are Obamacare Plans Affordable?”