Maria Yeager

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The American Health Care System – How Do We Fix It?

Until about a year ago, I was totally uninterested in politics – those subjects were my absolute least favorite in school. So, I am surprised that today I watch the news on almost a daily basis. I don’t know what changed. Maybe it’s all the chaos surrounding this administration. But, at age 51, I am finally paying close attention to what is happening in the United States…and I don’t like it one bit.

When Obamacare was passed, I was concerned. At the time, I only watched Fox News and I was a Republican, so you can imagine what I thought at the time. Fox News did bring up many concerns regarding Obamacare …and those concerns were justified as there are serious problems with it that need to be addressed.

When Trump became President, I wasn’t happy at all even though I was a Republican. I lived in a highly narcissistic environment for about twenty years, and I saw the exact behaviors in this man that I saw personally in my own situation. This concerned me greatly. I tried to warn people about this man, but I was attacked on social media for daring to question Trump’s behavior. Since that time, I have watched on a daily basis the chaos in this administration, mostly a direct result of his narcissism. I shake my head in frustration all the time, and I am disgusted with Washington in general. During this time, I contacted my senator, Mark Warner, and my Congresswoman, Barbara Comstock, on several occasions about my concerns. I never thought I would contact a Democrat, but I am so glad I did. Mr. Warner responded every single time I contacted him. I never heard from Barbara Comstock (she is a Republican). That speaks volumes.

A few months ago, I decided to become an Independent. The Republican party as I knew it years ago has changed. This party no longer represents my beliefs as I don’t condone the behavior that I have witnessed in this administration. I have watched Mark Warner as he drilled members of the current administration about possible Russia collusion. I am very impressed with Mr. Warner, and he will always have my vote in the future because I believe that he truly wants the best for this country.

Now to healthcare. John McCain is my personal hero. Although I do have issues with Obamacare, the “skinny bill” was a “disaster”, as Lindsay Graham put it in his speech before the vote. It would have left 16 million without insurance if it was passed into law. It also would have hiked insurance premiums 20%!! If that doesn’t anger every single American out there, I don’t know what will! Thank you so much, Mr. McCain, for voting your conscience. You have no idea how many Americans consider you their hero today.

Here’s the way I see it – if you want to bring down the cost of healthcare, lower the cost of prescription drugs, medical supplies and insurance. DO NOT take it from people who barely have anything (Medicaid)! Specifically, I would love to see caps put on the salaries of the CEOs and other senior management of pharmaceutical and insurance companies.

I used to work for a pharmaceutical company, so I have an idea of how much money these companies pull in and how many “perks” employees receive. I also worked in the medical field as a laboratory technologist. We used to joke about how aluminum foil in a medical supplies catalog cost something like $50 per roll when you could go to Food Lion and get the same thing for $2…I’m not kidding!

The following is a list of the highest earning CEOs in the pharmaceutical industry (per research done by Tracy Stanton of FiercePharma.com) :

  1. Len Schliefer – CEO of Regeneron, $41.97 million
  2. Jeffery Leiden – CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, $36.64 million
  3. Brent Saunders – CEO of Allergan, $36.61 million
  4. Martine Rothblatt – CEO of United Therapeutics, $33.21 million
  5. Lamberto Andreotti – CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb, $27.06 million
  6. Heather Bresch – CEO of Mylan, $25.82 million
  7. Kenneth Frazier – CEO of Merck, $25.03 million
  8. Alex Gorsky – CEO of Johnson & Johnson, $24.99 million
  9. Robert Hugin – CEO of Celegene, $24.24 million
  10. Ian Read – Pfizer, $23.28 million

That is just the top ten!

These salaries are ridiculous. No one needs to make this kind of salary when we have American citizens out there that are struggling to make ends meet every single month. Personally, I am on disability because I have had three back surgeries and live in constant pain. I also have fibromyalgia, and just in the past month, I learned that my right knee has almost no cartilage behind the knee cap (due to 25+ years of ballet, jazz and hip hop dancing). I am in physical therapy and have received an injection, but it is highly probable that I will need knee replacement surgery in the near future.

I have Medicare parts A and B. I also bought extra coverage through United Healthcare to help pay the 20% that Medicare doesn’t cover. I am on Savella and Lyrica for pain/fibromyalgia. Six months into this year, I received a notice from United Healthcare that I was in the coverage gap for these medications which means more out-of-pocket costs for me. Well, the cost was too high for me, so I had to drop my Lyrica to one-half of what I was taking during the first part of the year. I now live with increased pain and will have to deal with this until the end of the year.

It angers me that Mitch McConnell and most Republicans put forth a bill to make drastic cuts to Medicaid while doing nothing to reduce the costs of health insurance and pharmaceuticals. There are millions of Americans who are suffering and are barely able to make it month to month while these CEOs are pulling in a salary of $20 to $30 million per year! This has to stop!

Why won’t Congress address the gross mishandling of funds in these industries? How can these executives rake in this kind of money, knowing that there are people out there who are struggling, and sleep at night? Come on, congressmen and women!! Someone get a backbone and take up this issue. John McCain stood up last night, and it was great…will he or someone else have the balls to finally take on these companies?? Mark Warner, will you take the lead on this?

My suggestion for the American people is to vote out those senators and representatives that are on the extreme left and the extreme right. Get moderates in Congress on both sides so they can sit down TOGETHER and hammer out a COMPROMISE (not doing things in secret behind closed doors). I also urge Congress to come up with some kind of law that puts a cap on the salaries of pharmaceutical, insurance and medical supplies executives. Putting this cap in place should redirect the money back to the consumers and drive down these ridiculously high prices. There is no need…EVER…for someone to have a salary of $20 to $30 million PER YEAR when other people are struggling to survive.

A copy of this blog will be sent to my senator and representative. Please feel free to send a copy to your senator and representative as well.

 

 

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