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PNHP RESOURCES

Our current medical system is failing

By H. Dixon Turner, M.D.
Portsmouth (N.H.) Herald, September 24, 2018

To the Editor:

I have been involved in providing primary care medical care for 44-plus years. Unfortunately, I now on a daily basis encounter many ways that our current medical system is failing. The costs of medical insurance, medications and many aspects of care are outrageously expensive and many patients do not even have access to basic care.

A case in point is the cost of epinephrine. I regularly order epinephrine ampules for the emergency cart in my office. Not too long ago I could get 25 ampules for around $25. When I ordered ampules about 18 months ago the cost for 25 ampules had risen to $62.50 or $2.50 per ampule. When I ordered the same ampules 2 weeks ago the cost had risen to $23-$25 per ampule!! That represents a 10 fold increase in cost in 1 ½ years. This is outrageous and quite frankly immoral. Unfortunately under our current medical care system such arbitrary price increases are allowed and are not regulated.

President Trump’s and the Republicans’ efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act will further fragment our medical care system, lead to more people not having access to care and will greatly increase the cost of medical care for all of us. These efforts -- in the name of allowing “free choice” -- only lead to increased profits for insurance and pharmaceutical companies.

Currently in the USA 17 percent of our GPA is spent on medical care, which does not cover all of our citizens. Compared to other developed countries, we have the worst medical outcomes even though those countries’ expenditures are as little as half as much as ours.

We must move toward a single payer or regulated payers’ system where reasonable limits are set on the cost of medications and medical care and in which all people are included and have access to medical care.

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