RUSH: Here’s Wayne in Denver. Wayne, it’s great to have you on the EIB Network and Open Line Friday. Hi.
CALLER: Hey, Rush. It’s a great privilege to talk to you.
RUSH: Thank you very much, sir.
CALLER: Hey, I am a conservative, and I am not going to go away.
RUSH: Nor am I, and it’s great to hear you say that.
RUSH: There’s nothing they can do to send us away.
CALLER: Yeah. Hey, something else. I listen to your podcast every day, and you hit a home run yesterday when you talked about the cost of drugs. That was absolutely the best explanation that I’ve seen. I am 63 years old. We’re about the same age.
CALLER: I was in business for myself for 12 years, and what I saw happen over that 12-year period, and the reason that I sold my business, is insurance came into the picture, and the market became the copay. No one cared about the cost of drugs. For example, an antihistamine went up to $90 a month cost to the pharmacy, but the patient was paying $2.
RUSH: Wait a second. Prescription antihistamine was $90 a month to you?
CALLER: To me.
RUSH: An antihistamine was $90?
CALLER: My cost was $90, and the patient cost was $2.
CALLER: So the patients stopped caring with what drugs cost.
RUSH: They never even knew. They got to the point they didn’t know what the real cost was. Now they’re finding out.
CALLER: They didn’t know. They didn’t know, and that’s why your point about if we woulda stayed on a cash basis is so critically important, because when I was in business in 1988, our average prescription cost was $17.50, cash price. Now it’s well over $100.
RUSH: Yeah, and now people are finding out, with what is all happening at Obamacare, that they are gonna be liable not for two bucks outta 90 —
RUSH: — but for 88 bucks outta 90.
CALLER: I’m really concerned. I’m extremely concerned.
RUSH: Because people can’t afford what they gonna cost now.
CALLER: Yeah. Rush, you know, the issue was never insurance. They made the issue insurance instead of access to care.
CALLER: And when you —
RUSH: Now, Wayne, when you say “they” made the issue, who are you talking about?
CALLER: Well for one thing, Big Pharma. You know, the drug companies made insurance an issue. Now Obamacare is all about insurance. It’s not about access to health care. I don’t think anybody suffers from being able to access health care. But when we invite the insurance companies to play, they’re gonna make the rules, and we’re gonna see limits to —
RUSH: But that’s not uncommon. Whoever pays always makes the rules. Parents paying for a kid, they make the rules.
CALLER: Absolutely, Rush. Absolutely.
RUSH: It’s not that the insurance companies are inherently bad or evil. It’s just human nature is human nature.
CALLER: That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. And we’ve seen — we’ve seen some crazy things. Albuterol inhalers, which is a rescue inhaler for asthmatics.
CALLER: Five years ago, those were $17, cash price. Now they’re $65.
RUSH: It’s just unbelievable.
CALLER: You know why? Because we had to change the propellant to save the ozone.
RUSH: Yeah, it’s not even a drug cost.
CALLER: It’s not even a drug cost, and they don’t work as good. They don’t work as good, and they cost about four times the cost of what they used to be.
RUSH: Right. So the FDA gets in there, along with the environmentalist wackos, and on a basis of a hoax, the idea that the old stock of inhalers was somehow destroying the ozone and creating global warming.
RUSH: It was a crock anyway, but you have all these third parties, the insurance companies are in there. What it ends up is, the patient has it magically paid for via the insurance policy and therefore is not in touch with what it really costs.
CALLER: He doesn’t see the cost. You know, Rush, it’s like if I were to send you over to get a car. We have a street here in Denver where all the car dealerships are.
CALLER: What if I just sent you over there and said, “Pick out a car”?
RUSH: Well, I’d call John Elway for a deal. He owns that street, doesn’t he?
CALLER: (laughing) If I didn’t place any restrictions on you, you are gonna drive away with something with all kinds of toots and whistles. That’s what insurance has done to the pharmaceutical industry, is it’s hidden the true cost of the product from the consumer.
RUSH: Exactly. But, you know, Wayne, it’s not just the pharmaceuticals. It’s every aspect of health care. The cost of saying in a hospital has gone out of whack, based on there’s no connection to market forces. There’s no connection to the consumer’s ability to pay in practically any aspect of health care. And that, by the way, is where the fix for this is. And it really isn’t that complicated. But the people involved in it don’t want an uncomplicated fix. They want more involvement by the government. It’s seedy.
Well, I’m glad you heard the podcasts yesterday. I’m glad you heard the point made ’cause I think it’s a fundamental point. The idea that nothing in health care is priced in relationship to the patient’s ability to pay for it, and everything else in life is. That’s why there are different quality products, hotels, cars, different ways to buy tickets, seats on an airline. All different price categories can handle every segment of the market and their ability to pay. In health care, it’s been thrown out the window. You’ve got a government disinterested, a third party that is responsible for making payment, and the people being treated have lost all concept until they lose their insurance. That’s what they’re finding now.
In fact, I think Sebelius has decreed that the new Obamacare plans are gonna cover refills under the old plans for a little while longer. ‘Cause people are reacting, “What do you mean? This prescription costs me $1,800 or $1,200. I can’t afford that.” “Okay, okay, okay, we’ll keep it under the old rules for a while.” Just like you can keep your old plan for a while, if the insurance companies go along with it. This thing has been so bastardized and blown up now, it is totally out of control. It is an absolute, total mess. And we haven’t even gotten to the cancellation notices for the 80% who get their health insurance at work.