Pulak Kumar Profile picture
Aug 6, 2018 18 tweets 6 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Tbh my biggest issue with @SenSanders #MedicareForAll idea is that it isn't radical enough, which is probably the result of political considerations. If it were up to me, I'd go much further than the basic "insure everyone" idea. (THREAD)
A lot of people seem to be complaining about how catastrophically expensive and economically unsound the idea is. But the root cause of this problem is the private sector that will likely retain the rights to the technology and medicine the Govt will buy.
So there's actually a very simple idea for reducing the healthcare expenditure on the Govt's part: take a bat to the price-fixing system of patents on drugs and technology that the Big Pharma bastards have been getting away with for so long.
Using the reasoning of "we need more money for research!" Pharma companies have excused holding temporary monopolies where they jack up the prices of their patented drugs to maximize profits.
This, combined with the need-based nature of medicine, where patients are often FORCED to buy the drugs they need, gives these corporations ample room to nickle-and-dime their patients and make a killing. Anyone who can't afford this extortion is left to rot.
These sleazy corporations routinely use underhanded means to extend their patents, "updating" their drug formulations with insignificant chemical adjustments. Merck tried to pull that shit here in India, where they were thankfully shot down firstpost.com/business/merck…
A routinely cited statistic by #BigPharma is that they contribute the lion's share of R&D funding. While technically true, their data is very notorious for lacking transparency, and when it comes to the basic research that results in active pharmaceutical ingredient discovery...
...the truth may be the opposite. Public funding accounts for a whopping 84% of such funding, with the private sector's contributions being just 12%. Source: announcementsfiles.cohred.org/gfhr_pub/assoc… (Page 46)

Most of private sector R&D funding is not concerned with the actual invention of drugs.
"Free market" principles are being routinely flouted by the very corporations who claim to stake their founding principles on it. And even a "free market" won't protect desperate and vulnerable patients from being screwed over by opportunistic bastards who ensnare them.
If healthcare access is your top priority, then single-payer is one of the best models you can go for. It makes the Government the middleman who can deal with #BigPharma, being a buffer that ensures that consumers don't get ripped off or exploited.
But that doesn't go far enough. Intellectual property laws concerning essential medicine need to be rewritten to ensure that pharma companies can't keep getting away with all the shameful extortion they've been committing all these years.
My idea? Give #BigPharma a choice. Either they let the Government fix the prices on their precious patents, or they forego the damn things altogether and compete with generic manufacturers who can produce their drugs for a fraction of the price.
If they pick the "free market" option, the Government can buy at the price they see fit to ensure an optimal balance between public need, and ensuring that Pharma profits aren't too badly hurt. Same principle applies when it comes to deciding patent pricing.
But the one thing I would absolutely take away if given the chance, is to stop #BigPharma from having their cake and eating it too. Enough of them hijacking the market and nickel-and-diming their often desperate and vulnerable "customer base".
If that's the long-term goal of someone like Bernie Sanders, and I suspect it is, I'm with him all the fucking way. Let's tear this rotten healthcare infrastructure down, one day at a time.
The US Government should have known better than to drag foreigners like me into the fight with their free-trade agreements that forced my country to play by US corporate rules. You tried to force your shitty rules on me, now I'll back the very person trying to tear them down.
This is why I continue to support the Bernie wing of the left, regardless of what conservative commentators like @benshapiro @TianaTheFirst or @notaxation say. America's choices have consequences, and it was Americans that made it so. Time to lie in the bed you all made.

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