Cost of Broken Health Care System Is Killing Us

In his Chicago Sun-Times column, Jesse Jackson uses a personal anecdote to underscore the importance of taming skyrocketing health care costs.

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In his column at the Chicago Sun-Times, Jesse Jackson uses a personal anecdote to illustrate why it is important for America to get a handle on skyrocketing health care costs.

I suffer from a harsh case of gout that requires constant treatment. Suddenly this year, I discovered that the generic drug I was using that cost about 3 cents a pill had been banned and replaced by a proprietary drug -- a brand name -- that cost $5 a pill. Welcome to America’s broken health-care system.

The United States pays about twice as much more per person for health care as other industrialized nations that provide their citizens more-comprehensive coverage and deliver better outcomes. This is the result of a system that wastes hundreds of billions of dollars on administrative costs, unneeded treatments and exorbitant pricing systems.

Prescription drugs are a classic example. U.S. taxpayers provide $25 billion a year for health-related research and development, much of it related to new drugs.

Prescription-drug companies frequently take the breakthroughs developed on the taxpayers’ tab, add a little custom design, then patent the drug. This enables them to charge exorbitant sums for pills that actually cost little to make. Their biggest expense is marketing. But billions are spent each year in wooing doctors and hospitals to adopt their brands.

Read Jesse Jackson's entire column at the Chicago Sun-Times.

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