Healthcare, prescription drugs, and the plight of the self-employed

I recently came across a remarkable blog rant by a man named Jim Thornton, a competitive swimmer at age 56. Under a list of his latest swimming times, he shared the story of some of the struggles he’d recently been having with healthcare and prescription drug costs.

An excerpt:

Our health insurance went up to $1711.50 a month for a plan that requires each member of the family to spend $1400 a year before complete coverage kicks in. For a variety of complicated reasons, we cannot alter any of the terms of the policy. It is a take it or leave it situation. If we leave it, my wife and I have been taking statin drugs and antidepressants and will not be able to obtain individual policies that are not even more exorbitant than the extortionary policy we already have.

As close to unaffordable as it is this year, it seems certain that even modest increases in the years to come … ensure we will not be able to pay, most likely within two or three years.

We got audited by the IRS three weeks ago, and a large part of this was because our accountant set up a plan by which I could pay my wife a salary and give her and her family health insurance as a benefit. By doing this, I could deduct as a business expense not just the premiums but the out of pocket expenses, too. The IRS is challenging this…

So, let me get this straight:

US Big Pharma is granted the legal right to join New Zealand as the only two countries in the industrialized world to shamelessly tout ads on TV direct to consumers for drugs, creating demand for antidepressants, cholesterol lowering drugs, penis inflaters, hay fever and allergy meds, and so forth, all for chronic conditions that often require life time treatment, trumping up demand.

US Big Health Insurance is granted the legal right to cherry pick through “medical underwriting” any individual who has ever taken any of the above drugs and deny him or her coverage or charge exorbitant rights.

Big Pharma, furthermore, lobbies to block the reimportation of their drugs from Canada and pretty much any other country in the world, where the exact same thing costs anywhere from 50 percent to 8 times less. The rational: the FDA cannot assure the safety of reimported drugs, even ones in factory sealed bottles…

If you work for a big company, you can qualify for cheap health insurance, but this for all too many people just becomes yet another way to keep you as a virtual indentured servant, putting up with abusive managers demanding you do unethical things to up the profit margins, work nonstop, ignore your family, etc.–all because they know a lot of people have become so stressed out and fat and unhealthy because of their jobs they CAN’T quit because they won’t be insurable.

What, I ask you, is not a PONZI scheme in our modern land of liberty?

Can you relate?

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Comments (2)

It’s a familiar story the man tells. Those who need insurance the most, can’t get it at anything near a reasonable cost.

The government won’t allow small businesses or entrepreneurs to pool themselves in order to get better rates.

The GOP, the so called business party, supports big Pharma and Big Insurance in this anti-entreprenurial scheme.

And the IRS questions legitimate medical deductions by a man and his wife just trying to get by.

Of course it’s a big scam. I am hopeful that Obama will do something to straighten out this hopeless mess.

Being self employed myself I can relate to what you are saying. Luckily I’m single and in fairly good health in my 40’s. Still I saw my premiums jump 23% this year to $250 a month. It’s become a luxury I’m not sure I’ll be able to afford ; so be it ; like swine flu ; what the fk can you do?

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