The program was supposed to cost "only" a couple hundred billion dollars. It turns out that, as usual, the politicians were lying. The drugs being offered through this program are not offered at much of a discount at all, and the program is going to cost $750 billion over the next 10 years. That's three quarters of $1 trillion. Scratch that. As of this writing, the figure has now escalated to a whopping $1.2 trillion according to new figures from the White House, as reported in the Washington Post.
For those who don't immediately grasp the difference between million, billion and trillion (they all just run together when the federal government is talking about spending, don't they?), here' what it looks like: $1,200,000,000,000.00. That's over $4,200 per person living in the United States, and it's all a windfall handout to Big Pharma.
The best part -- that is to say the most entertaining part -- is that the program is so confusing, most people who try to participate in it can't figure out which plan to choose. It's administered through a partnership between private industry and government, and participants in this program must choose which plan they want to be on.
Each plan covers a certain number of prescription drugs and offers certain rip-off prices. All the prices, of course, are sky-high profiteering markups that would be considered criminal in any other industry. These are the highest prices in the world for these drugs, and yet somehow, consumers think they're getting a discount because it's a little bit less than what they might have been paying retail.
However, six out of 10 participants in this program are saying they're not saving any money at all. It sort of makes you wonder what the point of this whole thing is. The big news is that this program is so darn confusing that the federal government had to expand its toll-free help hotline from a couple hundred staff members to 4,000 staff members just to answer questions from senior citizens who can't figure out which plan to join. The administration of the plan is falling flat on its face as well, because when senior citizens go to pharmacies and try to buy prescription drugs, it turns out that their name isn't in the computer where it's supposed to be.
The plan isn't working out how it was supposed to, people can't get their drugs, and they are panicking. All of this demonstrates what happens when you put the federal government in charge of "negotiating" drug prices with the very same for-profit corporations that contribute enormous sums of money to the political party currently in the White House.
This plan really has two purposes: First, it makes President Bush popular by making sure he has lots of handouts for senior citizens, a demographic that happens to have a high number of active voters. Secondly, it's a big Bush handout to campaign supporters, notably Big Pharma. You see, drug companies have supported the Bush administration for years, and this is a great way to thank them, by actually having the government steal money from taxpayers and send that money to pharmaceutical companies. It's legalized inter-generational theft.
Even Arnold Schwarzenegger got swept up into this recently. After the defeat of four different propositions that were going to introduce some fiscal sanity to the State of California, he returned to the podium and announced, "Message received," and then proceeded to detail all kinds of new spending programs that would put the State of California even deeper into debt, and the voters loved it!
That's what the voters want you see -- more spending and less accountability. And why not? The government has been spending more money than it has for decades, so why can't the voters do it too? While we're at it, let's vote ourselves some free prescription drugs. Isn't democracy a wonderful thing?
I call it the tyranny of the masses, because whatever the majority wants to do -- no matter how unethical, irrational or illegal it may have been before -- it's suddenly justified under law. I don't know about you, but if my grandpa broke into my house, stole my wallet and used it to go out and buy Viagra at the local pharmacy, I'd be upset about that, but somehow when the whole nation does it, it's okay.
Welcome to America, and remember, now that this program is in place, there's going to be competition among presidential candidates to see who can offer the biggest health care handouts. I predict the next such debate will be about something even bigger than just a drug handout. It will be a national health care plan that offers mandatory screenings for all sorts of diseases so that every person in America -- newborn, child, adult -- can be diagnosed with something and "treated" with pharmaceuticals that will make the drug companies even more filthy rich than they are already.
Think about it: Do you want the federal government in charge of mandating what kinds of treatments your child might get for depression, a mental disorder or a learning disability? The government has no interest in prevention. We invest almost nothing in prevention in this country. The money will all go to prescription drugs. The government has no interest in teaching people how to actually prevent or reverse chronic diseases. It only has an interest in treating people who are managing their symptoms in a way that keeps the pharmaceutical industry profitable.
The best option for free-thinking people is to avoid this whole system altogether. Live outside conventional medicine like I do and like many Americans have chosen to do. We're healthier, happier and guess what? We have more money because we didn't spend it all on overpriced prescription drugs that you can buy anywhere else in the world for pennies-on-the-dollar.
Do you know why drugs are so expensive in this country? It's because we don't have a free-market system when it comes to drugs. Everything else is free-market. You can buy a car from Japan, you can buy T-shirts made in Mexico, you can buy computer memory chips from Korea, or you can buy plastic spatulas from Hong Kong, but how dare you try to buy prescription drugs from anywhere except the monopoly-controlled U.S. market? How dare you? That's why I call it a drug racket. It's a monopoly racket defended by the FDA, Big Pharma and corrupt legislators who get reelected thanks to campaign contributions from drug companies.
It's a simple system, but hardly anybody is willing to tell the truth about it, and this big Bush handout -- this Medicare drug benefit program -- only really benefits the drug companies. It doesn't benefit the senior citizens, and it doesn't benefit the taxpayers who are footing the bill. It certainly doesn't benefit any honest, hardworking American whose income continues to dwindle under the assault of do-gooder government programs like this one. It really only benefits Big Pharma, and, of course, that was its purpose.
The Medicare drug benefit program is really just another clever way to extract productivity from U.S. taxpayers, and it's working extremely well. Practically no one in the mainstream press has noticed any of what's really going on here. We see all sorts of articles about how terrible the system is, but I haven't seen any articles on real solutions.
You know what the real solutions are? They don't start with drugs; they start with food. If you want to get people healthy, it's very easy: Change what they eat. You can cure diabetes in three weeks by changing what you eat. You can cure virtually every type of cancer with changes in diet and nutritional supplementation. You can reverse Alzheimer's disease. You can reverse osteoporosis. You can reverse depression. You can reverse and eliminate all of these chronic degenerative diseases by changing what you eat, how you exercise, your exposure to environmental toxins, your stress levels and by availing yourself of natural sunlight and fresh water and air.
You'll never hear that from the federal government, and you won't hear that as a benefit program, because no one profits from it. No one profits when the U.S. population is healthy. Pharmaceutical corporations only make money when you're sick and when you stay sick.
I'm curious as to what program they'll come up with the next. How can they top this one? I can't wait for the next presidential election to see who's going to come up even more grandiose lies and try to convince even more voters that they can get something for nothing because "the gub'ment will pay for it."