The true welfare queens stay out of the light.
Some of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical companies have slashed payments to health professionals for promotional speeches amid heightened public scrutiny of such spending, a new ProPublica analysis shows.
The sharp declines coincide with increased attention from regulators, academic institutions and the public to pharmaceutical company marketing practices. A number of companies have settled federal whistleblower lawsuits in recent years that accused them of improperly marketing their drugs.
They’re not who you think they are, reports the Bangor Daily News.
For example, meet Welfare Queen for a Day Johnson & Johnson (emphasis added):
In November 2013, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay the federal government $2.2 billion to resolve criminal and civil allegations involving the marketing of off-label, unapproved uses of three prescription drugs.
Maine, according to a report in the Washington Post, would recover $2.8 million from the case, which involved alleged kickbacks to doctors and pharmacies for promoting a trio of drugs — two anti-psychotics and one heart medication.
The settlement funds, according to the Office of the Maine Attorney General, would serve as restitution for state Medicaid funds used to pay for the unapproved medications.
The story goes on to point out that, in Maine during the past three years, individuals have been required to repay a total of under $500,000 in fraudulently or mistakenly obtained benefits, a pittance compared to the amount that health care “providers” have been assessed.
Deaths from whooping cough soar in Cali. I trust the anti-vaccine zealots find this gratifying:
California health officials cite a variety of reasons for the uptick. A major contributor, according to the state, was declining immunity among children who had been vaccinated years earlier and had yet to get the booster shot recommended at ages 11 or 12.
Other factors include the cyclical nature of the disease and an increasing number of parents opting out of immunizations for their children.
Much more at the link.
I can remember seeing grainy black and white pictures of kids in iron lungs because of polio on the telly vision when I was young. Mumps nearly killed my parents when I was about four (mumps is much more serious in adults than in children). There were many family tales of children almost dying from whooping cough or measles and perhaps tales I did not hear of those who did; I do know that, in the graveyard at the little country church my family has attended since before the War of 1812, there are lots of tiny little graves.
Vaccines put an end to that. Now, fear and hysteria based on fraudulent claims threaten to bring it all back.
Penn and Teller explain vaccination (Warning: Language).
Penn and Teller via PoliticalProf.
The Affordable Care Act starts to have real-world effect. The Roanoke Times talks to one beneficiary:
“It has freed me from a weight, a chain, a prison of costs that were astronomical, especially considering my low income level,” said Auldridge, who makes about $20,000 a year working with people with autism.
For Auldridge and millions of others like him with pre-existing conditions, the Affordable Care Act codifies what had been a simple yet elusive concept: that sick people should have access to health insurance, and that the plans they purchase should actually defray their medical bills.
Much more at the link.
It’s the best catch there is.
Eat your heart out, Yossarian.
Follow the link for the Hellerian details.
Lee Witting tees off on a recent column attacking the ACA in his local rag.
It’s a masteful takedown. A nugget:
The Republicans have no answers for the people who can’t afford coverage under today’s profit-driven system of outrageous rates, junk policies, claims caps and denials of coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. Up until the implementation of Obamacare, this country had the worst system of health care coverage in the industrialized world. This is the mess that really matters — and not all the hypocritical noise being made about website problems, birth control coverage causing wanton sex or anything else opponents can drum up.
And a glitchy website does not mean a glitchy law.
The first time I rolled out my website back in the members dot AOL dot com tilde username days, it was glitchy, and I did not have the benefit of high-paid consultants to add extra glitches.
Really, grow up, people.
Let Wendy Wolf explain:
Recently, people who couldn’t afford health insurance were asked to use one word to describe how being uninsured felt. Overwhelmingly they said, “Scared.” Scared about not getting care when they needed it. Scared about medical debt that could bankrupt families. Scared about being unable to afford a prescription or recommended therapy.
Yes, the marketplace website rollout was a debacle — but it is making steady progress so that Maine people are finally getting enrolled. Yes, dealing with the cancellation of existing policies that people hold will require the thoughtful action of policy makers to address their concerns.
However, 75 percent of Americans agree that our health system needs to undergo fundamental changes or be rebuilt completely. Despite its shortcomings, Obamacare is still the best starting place for that change.
More stuff to help you grow up at the link.
As someone who must buy his health insurance on the open market, I predict that the Republican decision to tag the ACA as “Obamacare” will haunt them for years, as affordable health insurance is indelibly associated with President Obama and with the Democratic Party.
If you wonder why they are determined to destroy “Obamacare,” there is your reason.
Can you say, “Foot. Shoot.”?
According to Jonathan Cohn (linked at the link, or link squared–ed.), the total number of Americans who have submitted applications for coverage via Healthcare.gov and state exchanges? Try 1.5 million people, if you factor in households with multiple people receiving coverage — dependents and so forth, who, by the way, are included among the 30 million Americans without insurance prior to the ACA. Of that total, 1.4 million applications have been processed by the government. Whittled down further, Cohn reports that 106,000 applicants have chosen a plan and 396,000 have enrolled in Medicaid.
But, because there’s an “Obamacare is a Failed Policy” script that must be serviced, the lowest number of the batch has to be quoted. That’s why you’ve been reading about 106,000 rather than 1.5 million.
Read the rest.
Bruce Maiman looks at the “Obamacare cancellation hype” and explains that those policies that are no longer allowabale: They are like that car from Smiling Joe: Nicely washed and waxed, with sawdust in the transmission and oatmeal in the radiator, but oh so loooooow a sticker price.
. . . when CBS News reported last week that 56-year-old Florida resident Dianna Barrette would, under Obamacare, lose her $54-a-month health plan for a new $591-a-month policy, it was all about “sticker shock” and “Obama lied!”
In truth, CBS News blew it, and many of us fell for it. Did no one even bother asking in what world a $54-a-month policy buys any kind of coverage in any form of insurance? Barrette’s policy, which can be examined online, doesn’t even cover the cost of a hospital admittance fee should she fall ill. When made aware of this by, of all people, Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, Barrette admitted she really had no idea.
Wendell Potter explains the scam:
. . . a years-long industry strategy has been to shift more and more medical expenses to patients. As part of that strategy, big insurance firms bought smaller companies that specialize in limited-benefit plans, which often provide such skimpy coverage that some insurance brokers have refused to sell them.
Limited-benefit plans like that one, blessedly, will not be available next year, and that’s because of the Affordable Care Act. Neither will plans with sky-high deductibles. Another way insurers have shifted costs to patients in order to enhance profits: luring or forcing them into plans with such high deductibles they join the ranks of the underinsured the moment they enroll. When people in these plans get seriously sick or injured, they are on the hook for thousands of dollars in medical bills they’ll have to pay out of their own pockets.