Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

There’s Gold in Them Thar Invalids

Medicare patients make good hostages. You’ve probably heard about this already, but maybe you weren’t aware of the extent, of just how ruthless the Bush Administration will get when it comes to propping up the pharmaceutical industry.

U.S. Customs has been seizing packages of prescription drugs mailed from Canadian pharmacies to American patients. So far, about 40,000 of these packages have been confiscated. Do you understand what this means?? 40,000 patients were waiting for their prescribed medication to arrive in the mail — and it never arrived.

What the fuck is going on here? Again, we’re not talking about a third world dictatorship. This isn’t Afghanistan or North Korea. This is happening right here, today, in the United States of America.

And in all its decency, the government doesn’t even inform these patients when their prescribed medication has been confiscated. That means 40,000 people were thinking “thank God my blood pressure medicine will be arriving tomorrow or the next day.” NOT!! Gotcha!!

How many lives have been endangered because somebody’s heart medicine never arrived? How many people have died from this? No deaths have been reported, but that might be because our lapdog “media” has been instructed to keep quiet about it.

Since patients aren’t informed when Big Brother confiscates steals their drugs, they presumably aren’t reimbursed for the cost either. Oh well, they didn’t need the money. Plus, they’re just old and in the way.

Whatever happened to that Culture of Life we keep hearing about?

Right now there’s an amendment to a Homeland Security appropriations bill which would prohibit Customs from using federal money to steal people’s prescription drugs. ::smirk:: Let’s see how long it’ll take for that amendment to be deleted during the next committee conference. The Drug Cartel will instruct their prostitutes to bend over and delete that pesky amendment, and that’ll be that.

Putting aside the cold-hearted ruthlessness and meanspirited-ness of the Drug Cartel and their prostitutes (and that’s not easy to do) — conservatives are trampling all over their favorite slogans.

Socialized Medicine. OOOOHHHH!!!! For decades that ominous-sounding phrase was trotted out whenever anyone suggested a safety net for people’s medical costs. Try to present a logical argument, and you’d be met with “Socialized Medicine?!?!?!?!?!?” End of discussion.

But Socialized Profits — hey, cool!

Also, there was something about a “Free Market” I think it was. Free enterprise, laissez-faire, build a better mousetrap, find a need and fill it — ring any bells? If Safeway is charging too much for avocados, people will go down the street to Albertson’s and buy them. Joe’s Hardware Store is charging too much for that toolkit you need? Shop around — Ace Hardware has it for less. Prescription drugs are too expensive in the U.S.? Get the exact same drugs from Canada and pay half the price.

For some reason, those first two examples are perfectly legal, even encouraged. They’re examples of what differentiates America from those Communist governments we were fighting for all those decades.

But that third free enterprise example is illegal. Anybody have a logical reason?

cross-posted at Bring It On!


Blogger Big D said...

Don't be a hater. You're just upset our administrator is so sexy!

August 9, 2006 at 1:10 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Big D: LOL. That's a funny picture, I've gotta admit.

August 9, 2006 at 5:34 PM  
Blogger annonny-maus said...

I agree that it's wrong to confiscate meds from Canada.

However, if socialized medicine in Canada works so well, then why are there a lot of Canadians on waiting lists trying to get into Detroit hospitals for surgery?

Confirmed by my aunt, who is a nurse at Henry Ford hospital in Detroit. She said that the Canucks are lining up waiting for chemotherapy, kidney transplants, gall bladder surgery, etc.

August 9, 2006 at 9:05 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Sounds like a win-win situation to me. Canadians (if they can afford it) can come to America for better medical procedures, and Americans are buying cheaper drugs in Canada. Each system has its advantages and disadvantages, so people from each country should be able to cross the border and find something that works better. I don't have any fixed idea about "socialized medicine" or what type of health coverage Americans should have. But everyone should be able to cross the border and shop around and find what works for them.

August 9, 2006 at 9:32 PM  
Blogger frstlymil said...

I recently met a woman from Brighton who is living with terminal cancer. Because of her diagnosis of terminal - the UK pays the rent on her apartment, a living stipend, extra for alternative therapies and fully covers her chemo/radiation and meds. I guess the government believes her life sucks enough. How incredibly civilized and humane. Too bad the most powerful country in the world won't do that - hell that'd be un American to take care of your own. What's even worse here? Little factoid is that there are thousands of senior citizens in this country, mostly in the south, who's mothers were denied access to hospitals when they were about to deliver because they were black. There are no birth certificates for the babies born to those mothers, and those babies are now senior citizens with no paper trail because Jim Crow politics made it impossible to get one, so they are not eligible for what meager benefits that they might be entitled to with Medicare and the prescription drug program. I guess that 1/3 of a person thing never really went away for some. Buying their much needed medications from Canada may be literally their own recourse. Shame on us. Shame on us.

August 10, 2006 at 6:45 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Frstlymil: I think England and most of Europe has the kind of coverage you’re talking about. It seems like the humane thing to do. I’m not totally fixed on what type or extent of health coverage the American government should provide. It’s a difficult problem and I don’t claim to have a solution. But stopping people from buying medication for a lower price in Canada — that’s a new low. That’s just sick.

I hadn’t heard this story about the South, about thousands of senior citizens who didn’t have birth certificates because their mothers weren’t allowed into hospitals to give birth. It makes sense though, considering how things were in the South in those days. Our country (like every country) has some very dark chapters in its history; and we should own up to it.

August 10, 2006 at 10:46 AM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

The main argument the industry puts forth is that the closed market allows them to reap sufficient profit to afford the best RnD. There is some truth to it, but essentially we pay twice as much and get a little better. If the price comes down, there will be less RnD, but hey, life isn't perfect.

What they are capitalising on is fear. How much is a person willing to spend to save his or her a loved one's life?

But you are totally right. This runs absolutely counter to the most basic precepts of the system we live under.

Let the market decide how much RnD there will be. Don't manipulate it and tell us it is for our own good.

August 10, 2006 at 1:00 PM  
Blogger frstlymil said...

Correction: Medicaid. Here's a link to the April NPR interview where the issue comes up: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5336732

August 10, 2006 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Right on, Frstlymil. Great Britain has it right when it comes to issues like the one you mentioned. Sorry to rant, but this issue gets me totally pissed off.

Conservatives consider a system like England's "immoral" because they don't believe the recipients of such benefits have "earned" the benefits. If someone couldn't pay for their expensive medical treatments, I guess there shouldn't be financial help available because "heck, they put themselves in the position of not being able to afford such care! What does that say about their sense of personal responsibility?"
Etc., etc., ad nauseum.

Our national health care plan? Don't get sick!

Our system is of the pharmaceutical/insurance companies, by the pharmaceutical/insurance companies, and for the pharmaceutical/insurance companies. If you can't make money off of something, it isn't a "moral" enterprise, and that includes those who can't afford their medicines or needed surgeries... Wow, is that "compassionate conservatism"* or what!!

* - oxymoron

August 10, 2006 at 8:24 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Prague Twin: Their stated reasoning makes sense, but it’s hard to tell how truthful they’re being and how much they’re just trying to boost their own profits and squelch all competition. All businesses talk about cutting corners and cutting costs so they can pass their savings on to their customers. In some cases that’s an honest response and in other cases it’s just a slogan that sounds better than “I’m a greedy bastard.” With the pharmaceutical industry, like any other business, I’m sure there’s some truth that they need money for R&D. But to some extent I think they’re just trying to boost their profits and squeeze out any competition. In any case I think it’s inexcusable to be confiscating prescription drugs from people who’ve bought their drugs in Canada.

Frstlymil: Thanks for the link. I’m listening to it right now on NPR.

Snave: Good rant. It’s bad enough that so many people think nobody should get something for nothing. But a lot of these same people don’t seem to have any objection when senior executives keep getting multi-million dollar salaries and bonus packages. It seems these people have nothing against giveaways; just only object when needy people are the recipients.

August 10, 2006 at 8:44 PM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

In any case I think it’s inexcusable to be confiscating prescription drugs from people who’ve bought their drugs in Canada.

That really is the point. I was just playing devils advocate becasue, well, that's my M.O.

Thanks for bring this to my attention by the way. You are really good at digging up interesting dirt.

August 11, 2006 at 3:29 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Prague Twin: Thanks. There's lots of interesting dirt out there to be dug up.

August 11, 2006 at 8:56 AM  

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