Two of three ain’t bad? We’re going to find out

We’re 1-for-2 on this open-thread thingy. First week: good. Second week: shut down Friday before the clock struck midnight. Repeat the first week’s performance, and we can keep doing this. Repeat the second week, and the trend will not be y’all’s friend.

So, with cautious optimism, I present … your Friday Open Thread. Please enjoy responsibly.

Reader Comments 0

216 comments
MHSmith
MHSmith

The cost of cancer drugs

~ Lesley Stahl discovers the shock and anxiety of a cancer diagnosis can be followed by a second jolt: the astronomical price of cancer drugs

.

.

..."High cancer drug prices are harming patients because either you come up with the money, or you die."

...All this is accepted industry practice. After about six months, once Medicare and private insurers became aware of the doctor's discount, the price was cut in half for everyone.

John Castellani: The drug companies have to put a price on a medicine that reflects the cost of developing them, which is very expensive and takes a long period of time, and the value that it can provide.

John Castellani is president and CEO of PhRMA, the drug industry's trade and lobbying group in Washington.

Lesley Stahl: If you are taking a drug that's no better than another drug already on the market and charging twice as much, and everybody thought the original drug was too much...

John Castellani: We don't set the prices on what the patient pays. What a patient pays is determined by his or her insurance.

Lesley Stahl: Are you saying that the pharmaceutical company's not to blame for how much the patient is paying? You're saying it's the insurance company?

John Castellani: I'm saying the insurance model makes the medicine seem artificially expensive for the patient.He's talking about the high co-pay for cancer drugs. If you're on Medicare, you pay 20 percent.

Lesley Stahl: Twenty percent of $11,000 a month is a heck of a lot more than 20 percent of $5,000 a month.

John Castellani: But why should it be 20 percent instead of five percent?

Lesley Stahl: Why should it be $11,000 a month?

John Castellani: Because the cost of developing these therapies is so expensive.

Lesley Stahl: Then why did Sanofi cut it in half when they got some bad publicity?

John Castellani: I can't respond to a specific company.

Sanofi declined our request for an interview, but said in this email that they lowered the price of Zaltrap after listening "to early feedback from the oncology community and ... To ensure affordable choices for patients..."

Dr. Hagop Kantarjian: High cancer drug prices are harming patients because either you come up with the money, or you die.

Hagop Kantarjian chairs the department of leukemia at MD Anderson in Houston. Inspired by the doctors at Sloan Kettering, he enlisted 119 of the world's leading leukemia specialists to co-sign this article about the high price of drugs that don't just add a few weeks of life, but actually add years, like Gleevec.

It treats CML, one of the most common types of blood cancer that used to be a death sentence, but with Gleevec most patients survive for 10 years or more.

60 Minutes: Segment Extras

Nat’l oncologists group tackles spiraling drug costs

Dr. Hagop Kantarjian: This is probably the best drug we ever developed in cancer.

Lesley Stahl: In all cancers?

Dr. Hagop Kantarjian: So far. And that shows the dilemma, because here you have a drug that makes people live their normal life. But in order to live normally, they are enslaved by the cost of the drug. They have to pay every year.

Lesley Stahl: You have to stay on it. You have to keep taking it.

Dr. Hagop Kantarjian: You have to stay on it indefinitely.

Gleevec is the top selling drug for industry giant Novartis, bringing in more than $4 billion a year in sales. $35 billion since the drug came to market. There are now several other drugs like it. So, you'd think with the competition, the price of Gleevec would have come down.

Dr. Hagop Kantarjian: And yet, the price of the drug tripled from $28,000 a year in 2001 to $92,000 a year in 2012.

"They are making prices unreasonable, unsustainable and, in my opinion, immoral."

Lesley Stahl: Are you saying that the drug companies are raising the prices on their older drugs.

Dr. Hagop Kantarjian: That's correct.

Lesley Stahl: Not just the new ones. So, you have a new drug that might come out at a $100,000, but they are also saying the old drugs have to come up to that price, too?

Dr. Hagop Kantarjian: Exactly. They are making prices unreasonable, unsustainable and, in my opinion, immoral...

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-cost-of-cancer-drugs/

 .

.

 .

How 'bout your "market driven health care" GOP? 


Dr. Hagop Kantarjian:  "They are making prices unreasonable, unsustainable and, in my opinion, immoral"

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

 Past U.S. presidents have exercised their constitutional authority to institute travel bans whenever American lives were in jeopardy. Indeed, so has President Obama. In July, all flights to Israel were temporarily prohibited because the escalating violence threatened the safety of our citizens traveling there.


The deadly Ebola continues to ravage West African countries and threatens to escalate beyond the continent. If it is, as President Obama claims, a “national security priority,” why then has he failed or refused to make the health and safety of American lives a priority?


http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/10/03/if-obama-thinks-ebola-is-national-security-priority-why-no-travel-ban/


Yes, why?

YouLibs
YouLibs

@IReportYouWhine 

Well, I'm glad you asked:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/15/warmest-august_n_5823642.html

http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2014/09/30/Antarctic-ice-loss-responsible-for-measurable-shift-in-gravity/2001412101841/


A cursory Google search will turn up hundreds of articles from reliable reporting agencies documenting the progression of the effects of burning fossil fuels since the mid-nineteenth century. You may only read the stuff that confirms your biases, though.

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

 "What did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad - except that the people who were being supplied were (Jabhat) al-Nusra and al-Qaida and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world," Biden said at the time.


The UAE's official news agency carried a statement from Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash calling Biden's comments "far from the truth." The UAE Foreign Ministry said it was astonished by the remarks.


http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/ML_EMIRATES_US?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-10-05-15-39-58


Well, there goes the "coalition."


IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

 Angry and frustrated voters are planning to use the midterm elections in one month to tell President Obama they oppose his agenda, the highest “no vote” percentage in the last 16 years measured by Gallup.


The polling outfit found that 32 percent of voters want to send a message of opposition with their vote, compared to just 20 percent who are sending a signal of support.


That is 13 points higher than in 1998 when former President Clinton was headed to impeachment for lying about his sex affair with a former White House intern and even a smidge higher — 2 points — than in 2008, when Americans were tired of President Bush’s military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.


http://washingtonexaminer.com/gallup-voter-opposition-to-obama-at-16-year-high-worse-than-bush-clinton/article/2554404


fact

MHSmith
MHSmith

@IReportYouWhine 

And for the next two years Obama remains President.

There's your 2 points. 

Don't spin it all in one place. 

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

For Democrats, there was also a dark underbelly in Friday’s bright news. The employment rate among the constituents they need most on Election Day — women, young people and black voters — did not improve in September. Nor did the numbers of people employed part time because they could not find full-time work.


The actual percentage of working-age people with jobs — 59 percent — has not changed for four months, a reflection of just how many people have stopped looking for work. In statements on Friday, Republicans blamed Mr. Obama’s economic policies for leaving the labor participation rate at its lowest level since 1978.


Adding to the gloom, average hourly earnings are stuck in the mud, down slightly in September and up only 2 percent in the last year, barely ahead of inflation.


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/04/business/economy/monthly-jobs-report-september.html


And look at the democrats celebrate. 


It's like they want to destroy the United States.

Captain–Obvious
Captain–Obvious

Yeah, not really, but we know there's no changing your mind so why bother?

straker
straker

Rafe


Obamacare is a work in progress.


We have yet to determine whether its going to be a real blessing for large numbers of Americans or a disaster that will wreck our economy and healthcare system.


So, its a little early to be calling those who believe in Obamacare "stooges".

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@straker  I would agree that you are not a stooge. If you are willing to give this a bit longer than I respect your opinion. I might not agree, but that okay too I guess.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@straker No doubt in my mind, I read history and don't discount lessons that I don't like.

MHSmith
MHSmith

@straker 

Without Obamacare I could not afford to buy the private sector for-profit platinum $1, 500 max out-of-pocket deductible policy I have that I have used extensively since Jan 1. with NO PROBLEMS which allowed me to keep my doctor and gives me a wide array of other in-network doctors and specialists to choose, any darn hospital in the Atlanta market and many hospital outside the State and it didn't cost me five times more money did than my former company sponsored insurance did before I retired.

Now, who are the stooges?! 



RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@MHSmith @straker It works for those getting a subsidy obviously, since 80% of those enrolled get a subsidy.  The premiums are too high for those not getting the subsidy, because they have to pay for those that are subsidized.  The insurance company subsidies are going to be a big problem paying for as well.


I have come around to keeping those people enrolled that get the subsidy, I just don't know how we are going to afford it.  I think we need two options, public and private. 


I think we need to drop the unconstitutional mandate, offer an Obamacare option for those who need it,  incentivize obtaining insurance for the 30 million of so uninsured out there, maximize the private sector cost cutting initiatives many have proposed, keep the requirement that they can't drop the sick, and let folks have the option, either take the safety and security of the government program or buy your own privately funded policy.  If the private sector can't bring the premiums down, offer wider networks and more specialist, and lower the insane deductibles, then I think folks would naturally gravitate toward the government plan.   I think when push comes to shove, the private companies will find a way to beat the public plans, for folks not eligible for a subsidy.  We just need to find a way to pay for the Obamacare subsidies to the insured and to the ever increasing subsidies to the insurance company.



RantNRave
RantNRave

"The Federal Reserve reports Obamacare is hurting employment and increasing costs for employers"

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm ???

Unemployment rate drops to 5.9% as job growth rebounds............Los Angeles Times‎ - 2 days ago

Job growth rebounded strongly last month and the unemployment rate fell below 6%

.

.

.

.

SOMEBODY DID NOT GET THE MEMO !!! 

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@RantNRave  Wages are depressed for a reason. The workforce participation rate is the lowest in over 25 years. I would say Obamacare is hurting the us job market.

straker
straker

ByteMe   "the duped will be duped some more"


Yes. A sad and pathetic reality of many Republican voters.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@straker If the GOP was duped what would you call the folks, who believed the claims for Obamacare?  Stooges?

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@RoadScholar @RafeHollister @straker What was their plan for welfare reform?  Did they announce that before they revised welfare?  They eliminated the waste, changed motivations, and introduced accountability and it seemed to work well.  


Most of this is not rocket science, just eliminate what is not working, what is un-popular, eliminate the unconstitutional mandate, allow free market competition, and keep the government security version, but allow free market alternatives for folks who want better/cheaper/larger networks.

straker
straker

I Whine


If Republicans win the Senate, then they will control Congress and must fulfill their campaign promises to repeal Obamacare.


Will they be successful?  Or will they blame Obama if he blocks this repeal?


It its the latter, maybe some intelligent Republican voters will realize there was never a chance for repeal and all those promises were just lies designed to get the pols elected.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@straker I actually hope they try.  It'll give Democrats a huge win in 2016.  But I'll bet they don't do anything other than half-hearted attempts at it, similar to their half-hearted attempts to outlaw abortion when the controlled all the branches of government last decade.  The duped will be duped some more.

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@straker  Probably not repeal. The ACA has done far too much damage to just be undone. My hope is that they do just one thing. Pass a law that requires the ACA be put into full effect as written and that all of Obamas, Pelosis, and Reids exceptions are removed.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@InTheMiddle2 @straker Are you prepared for the economic damage that would ensue?  You know even though the proggies passed this without GOP consent, the GOP would be blamed, if they forced implementation and the economy tanked.  Our perverse sycophantic media would say, well the Dems never expected all of it to be implemented and the GOP forced it, so they wrecked the economy, it is not Obama's fault.



InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@RafeHollister @InTheMiddle2 @straker  I don't think so. Remember the government shut down. Despite the incredible efforts by the media to paint it as solely a GOP issue and used that to predict the end of Republican control of the house. Here we are about to see the GOP control both houses. People are smarter then the press or democrats give them credit for.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@straker These folks do not know that President Obama can veto it, and the repubs do not have the votes (even if they take over the Senate) to override the veto!


It does need some corrections, but are the repubs smart enough......oh , never mind!

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@RoadScholar @straker  I would say the Republicans are needed to fix it. If they had been involved in the beginning we would not have to deal with the disaster that the ACA has become.

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

The thing is, though, there's a difference between care and coverage. Insurance programs, whether Obamacare or Medicaid, only provide coverage. It's doctors who provide care. But because government insurance programs -- even money-sucking ones like Medicaid, which costs $450 billion a year -- can't pay doctors enough and smother them with paperwork, doctors are hard to find. Without doctors, coverage doesn't mean much.



http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/11/11/obamacare-health-care-obama-medicaid-avik-roy-column/3489067/

The study found that federal spending on Obamacare and related legislation has far exceeded anyone’s estimates (or imaginations). To date, the report concludes that the health-care law has cost taxpayers $73 billion. And that number doesn’t include projected spending on the law’s Medicaid expansion, which if included would bring costs to more than $90 billion. 


http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-09-26/runaway-obamacare-spending-will-cost-democrats

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@IReportYouWhine They discredit the sources, so I guess they will claim Glen Beck writes for Bloomberg now.  If you don't like the news, discredit the source is SOP for the proggies.  Rather than do the hard work to prove what is written wrong, they just slam the source.  


The Federal Reserve reports Obamacare is hurting employment and increasing costs for employers.  Just yesterday we were treated to observations on why conservatives dismiss government numbers, yet they dismiss the government numbers from the Fed Reserve.


Obamacare is a disaster that continues to get worse.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@IReportYouWhine I see where the AJC now has a "politicheck".  Every leftwing rag in America now has a polticheck, so how credible are they.

MHSmith
MHSmith

Fact Checker: Has ACA raised Nevada health premiums?

.

.

...Some may remember this analysis because it was cited in an ad on Nevada TV stations earlier this year. The ad was put out by a PAC headed by tea party Republican Sharron Angle. The ad says in onscreen text, "Nevada's Obamacare Exchange brings 179 percent increase in health insurance premiums for Nevadans; the highest increase in the U.S."

.

.

FactCheck.org looked at the claim and found it misleading. It said this is because pre-ACA plans generally don't cover as much stuff as post-ACA plans so it's comparing apples and oranges, and the report didn't take into account subsidies to offset the cost, which the Congressional Budget Office says apply to about 80 percent of people buying plans in the ACA marketplace...

 .

.

 http://www.rgj.com/story/news/politics/2014/10/05/fact-checker-aca-raised-nevada-health-premiums/16654983/

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Captain-Obvious Declaring that it's "political spin" doesn't make your statement any more than political spin.  

EdUktr
EdUktr

The first casualty of Ebola here will be the childish bravura that America is somehow immune to calamity. The second casualty will be the politically correct and foolhardy urge to continue to allow commercial air travel between the U.S. and West Africa.

There are many alive today who sadly won't be because the order wasn't reversed.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@EdUktr  This a case where having knowledge actually matters. If you literally do not know what you're talking about, I'm going to put your opinions at the back of the line behind those people who do know what they're talking about. And others should too.

Even FOX this morning conceded that Ebola is a very inefficient bio-hazard.  50 people died in Georgia last year from the flu.  The problem in Africa is the lack of resources to contain the Ebola problem and isolate the contageous.  We don't have that issue here.

RantNRave
RantNRave

TO: IReportYouWhine 9 hours ago

Not a Republican idea to open the borders and welcome every foreigner in the world to come here and infect our children with killer viruses like Ebola.

*********************************************************************************************************************

For over 60 years, Ellis Island was the gateway for millions of Americans to the United States.

For over 60 years

For over 60 years

The law required the Publc Health Service to issue a medical certificate to those who suffered from a "loathsome or a dangerous contagious disease

 Exclusion of those diagnosed with infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, venereal disease, trachoma, and favus was mandatory.

By 1903 the PHS had elaborated two major categories: "Class A" loathsome or dangerous contagious diseases and "Class B" diseases and conditions that would render an immigrant "likely to become a public charge." A subset of Class A conditions included mental conditions such as insanity and epilepsy.