The current health care system in the United States is failing. Forty-five million people, over one third of all Americans, have no health insurance and one third of all Americans are inadequately insured. Health Care costs are increasing at a pace which far exceeds inflation. Health maintenance organizations ("HMOs") were established as a cost effective alternative to traditional fee for service medicine. HMOs have reported financial losses and as a result are increasing premiums and denying previously offered services. Increased health care premiums have led employers to shift the cost of health care onto their employees. While consumers are bearing more of the burden of their health care costs, they are frequently denied needed medical treatment by their HMO and are increasingly dissatisfied with the care they are receiving. More
Widespread frustration about the high costs of prescription drugs have led to the introduction of a number of Federal bills proposing to provide some type of prescription drug benefit. Many proposals expand Medicare to include prescription drug benefits, one proposal gives states block grants and provides for tax reimbursements and other legislation links the costs of drugs bought through Medicare to the Federal Supply schedule. The Federal Supply Schedule is used by federal agencies that directly buy prescription drugs. All of the pending legislation applies only to senior citizens who bear the biggest brunt of the high costs of prescription drugs. PIRG believes that any solution should make prescription drugs affordable for all consumers. More.