RUSH: We'll start in Oregon with Joanne. I'm glad that you waited. Great to have you here. Hi.
CALLER: Thank you so much, Rush. I'm just calling to give you an idea of what the Obamacare is doing to the pharmaceutical industry. I'm a pharmacy technician. One of the things --
RUSH: What does a pharmacy technician do?
CALLER: Pharmacy technicians will take your prescription in, we'll type it up, we count your pills. The pharmacist will check it. We will ring you up. We run your insurance if you have any. We find you discount cards if you don't.
RUSH: So you're the interface?
CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. That's what we do. And we work really hard. But one of the things --
RUSH: I know, 'cause everybody wants it right now.
CALLER: Absolutely. Yeah. They all want it right away.
RUSH: Fifty people in line want it right now.
CALLER: Yes. Yes. And you can't do it all. But one of the things that's been happening to the pharmaceutical industry is our hours are being squeezed. It's not saying that they're being cut, it's just that we're having to work harder, there's less of us in there, because the rate of reimbursement for most government plans -- and I'm seeing more and more government plans coming in -- the rate of reimbursement for government plans is being cut. So a lot of the medications that we sell, you'll pay your copay, you walk away, we'll be taking anywhere from a $75 to sometimes even a $300 loss on what you walked out the door with. They're reaching the stage where they can't afford employees anymore. They're having to make decisions of trying to sell more stuff out in the store, cutting hours of people out in the store, cutting our hours back. Your average pharmacist in a chain will work 12-hour days, no lunches, no breaks, they're on their feet.
RUSH: Wait. This doesn't make sense. How do people expect the doctors to not get paid, the pharmacies to not get paid, the patients to not have to pay, how does this work?
CALLER: It's not going to. And that's the deal. It's shutting down now. I'm watching it. I worked for a company, worked for them for quite a while. It reached the stage where I physically couldn't keep up with the job anymore. You go in and you would have sweat dripping off your face all day, all nine hours. Someone was in your face all the time. You couldn't cope. So I took a job with a pharmacy that had a little bit better working conditions, and I'm watching the same story play over again there. I'm watching their managers make the same decisions that this other place did and slowly start to squeeze us into the same situation that I was before.
RUSH: Well, now, wait. So you're faced once again with longer hours?
CALLER: Yeah, you'll go in, you'll work less days, you'll work longer hours.
RUSH: Because the pharmacy is not being re-compensated enough to make up their costs?
CALLER: Yes. Exactly. They're not being re-compensated.
RUSH: So they're taking it out on you, the employee, by cutting your hours?
CALLER: Yes. 'Cause they've got no other place to go. I mean, they've gotta pay their drug bills; they have to pay their licensing bills; they have to pay their pharmacists. But when you're being squeezed -- I mean, you've gotta make a profit somewhere, and --
RUSH: Maybe they could run cocaine out the back door.
CALLER: Yeah, right. But probably not, let's hope not. So it's just being squeezed. But it's reaching the stage where it's not gonna be viable in another two or three years if something doesn't happen. There are probably gonna be some concessions made, I suppose, over things that we have to do, but --
RUSH: Joanne, did you happen to see the president's Rose Garden attaboy ceremony on Monday?
CALLER: I heard parts of it.
RUSH: Well, one of the props, people, one of the props behind Obama was supposedly somebody that worked at a CVS pharmacy, and she was just going on and on and on and on about how great Obamacare is.
CALLER: Well, I'm sorry, she lies. There are liberals in pharmacies.
RUSH: There's so much lying and so much decease going on in this. The bottom line is the White House is now going to decide how much prescriptions are gonna cost. They're gonna end up deciding how much money you make, the doctors make. That's what this is gonna mean.
RUSH: They're gonna be in charge of every aspect of this.
CALLER: Yeah, and it's gonna crash. Unless you institute slavery, I suppose, it's gonna crash. You cannot enslave people. In some of the pharmacies I've worked in it was close to that. Can you imagine going in, having a PharmD degree, you're a Doctor of Pharmacy, you walk in the door at nine o'clock in the morning or 8:30 to get your paperwork done --
RUSH: Look, you don't understand, you're just gonna have to be patient. If you hang in there long enough, Joanne, you're gonna be working for the government, which means you'll be able to shut down and get turkey on Thanksgiving during shutdowns and get furloughed and back pay. If you can hang in long enough, the government's gonna be running all of it. You're gonna be a government employee there behind the counter.
CALLER: I'd sooner choke.
RUSH: (laughing) Look, I understand. I hear these horror stories. It's hard to keep up with 'em. Some of it, I know to a lot of people, doesn't make any sense. And the only way it does is because they're living it, too, on one side of it. But it does boil down to exactly as I said. How is a system gonna work when the doctor doesn't get paid, when the pharmacy doesn't get paid, and the patient doesn't think he or she has to pay? How does that work? And the answer is, it can't. I appreciate the call, Joanne.