Health Care

Report | Georgia PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Health Care in Crisis

Unless the new Congress and Administration act to reduce health care costs, the yearly cost of the average employer-paid family health policy in Georgia is projected to more than double from $10,793 in 2006 to $22,796 by 2016 even after adjusting for inflation. If recent trends continue, wages and household incomes will simply not keep up with these high costs. Nor will the business sector be immune to this crisis.  Unchecked, this cost epidemic could also severely impact the small businesses that drive job creation in the Georgia’s economy.

Unfortunately, too much of these astronomic costs are going to enrich special interests, not buy the best health care.  The Congressional Budget Office estimates that nationally as much as one third of health care spending is wasted and does not improve outcomes. That means that, in 2007, one out of every three dollars that Americans spent on health care, or $730 billion, went to the insurance bureaucracies, drug companies, medical device manufacturers, and providers without improving a single person’s health.  In Georgia, one third of health spending amounts to $13.7 billion.

This report examines three important sources of this unproductive spending.  We conclude with a package of urgently needed reforms which target those causes, improve quality of care, and rein in this unnecessary spending.  As part of comprehensive health reform, these policies will enable America to emerge from this crisis with a health system that consumers and businesses can afford and families can depend on.

News Release | Georgia PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

House Passes Prescription Drug Safety Reforms; Senate to Follow

The House today passed significant reforms to the Food and Drug Administration’s drug safety review system.

Report | Georgia PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Paying the Price

Millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans struggle to afford the medicines they need, even forgoing medically necessary drugs when prices are out of reach. When discussing the high cost of prescription drugs, politicians often focus on the financial burden carried by senior citizens. Unfortunately, as this report shows, high prescription drug prices are a problem for Americans of all ages, particularly for the uninsured.

Today, nearly 46 million Americans under the age of 65 lack health insurance, and millions more with insurance lack prescription drug coverage. Young adults from 19 to 34 years old are the fastest growing group of uninsured, accounting for 40 percent of the total.

At the same time, prescription drug prices are skyrocketing in the United States, rising much faster than the rate of inflation. In 2005, Americans spent $252 billion on prescription drugs.

Report | Georgia PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

Turning Medicine Into Snake Oil

False and misleading prescription drug advertising is common and dangerous. Prescription drug marketers are inundating doctors, and to a lesser extent, the public, with marketing that misrepresents risks, promotes unproven uses, and makes unsubstantiated claims. The false and misleading messages are communicated through conventional advertising, sales representatives, doctors speaking on behalf of drug marketers, and through clinical trial suppression, manipulation and misrepresentation. Sadly, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is ineffective at addressing the problems. This report takes a comprehensive look at all of these facets of the prescription drug marketing problem and suggests effective solutions.

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