drug prices

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Is Health Care Reform DOA?

As the Senate began debate this week, several issues of timing are coming to the forefront:

  1. Will health care reform pass before the end of 2009?  This seems extraordinarily unlikely.  With the number of potential amendments and a reconciliation of the House and Senate bills (assuming Senate passage) necessary before sending a final bill to the President, Congress looks far more likely to go home for the holidays with additional work to do.  The clip below from provides more insight.
  2. Will health care reform pass in 2010?  The closer we get to November 2010 elections, the harder it will be for some moderate Democrats to vote for this bill.  A heavily amended bill still seems very possible, if not likely, but several moderate Democrats and perhaps a Republican like Senator Olympia Snowe, will wield great influence in the final version.
  3. When we will see change?  Assuming a final bill does pass, those hoping for a quick fix are likely to be disappointed.  There may be a good three to four years of preparation (and collecting of taxes to pay for the reforms) before you see anything different with your current health insurance.

Pharmaceutical companies raising prices – is the Senate the only group that didn’t see this coming?

You might remember headlines from this summer, where Big Pharma generously offered to kick in about 80 billion dollars to help pay for health care reform. It isn’t too hard to follow the money trail and figure out who is actually paying for that: mostly consumers of brand-name drugs.

Health insurance plans – for individuals and small businesses – that exclude brand-name Rx coverage continue to increase in popularity and are increasingly more affordable than their brand Rx-inclusive counterparts.