Do you believe 20% of Americans cannot “afford” prescription drugs?

Here is what Sen Sanders says:

First of all, less than 20% of Americans do not have health insurance. Very low income people on Medicaid have coverage. Those on Medicare have coverage with subsidies for low income beneficiaries. Obamacare mandates prescription coverage and also limits out of pocket costs each year. 

He is right that many Americans report they cannot afford their medication or are “unable to afford” as Sanders says. But what does that actually mean? If you are buying several different items and one of them is a $30 co-payment for a prescription, which item do you think will be reported as unaffordable? The cable bill, the cell phone, going to the movies? 

Isn’t it strange that we can add to premium costs by making affordable contraceptives free while at the same time we are concerned that life saving and life sustaining drugs are “unaffordable?”

There are those who claim that if we just negotiated drug prices all will be well. Allow Medicare to negotiate prices we are told.  However, the fact is that pharmacy benefit managers and insurance companies providing drug benefits including Medicare Part D already negotiate prices. Who knows what more could be done without affecting the costs for the non-Medicare population? 

Never forget; the average American does not believe they should pay for health care. So when asked the question about affordability, any cost associated with health care is unlikely to be reported as affordable… everything else comes first. 


2 replies »

  1. I bet if you asked the question right, you could get 20% to say they could not afford gasoline for their car at today’s prices. Maybe even more than 20%. Those evil drug companies and evil oil companies need to be reigned in. lol.

    But, no one complains about a $600 i phone that cost apple less than $100 to make. Choices and many in this life make the wrong ones every day. I went to the doctor last summer, several visit and tests, I paid $300 and the insurance paid $700. Truth is I could of paid more. I hope the politicians are smart enough to fix the problems with the PPACA program and not give us a single payer system that will raise costs and limit choices.


  2. I am actually surprised that it is only 20% who can’t afford their prescriptions. Maybe somebody can enlighten me with all this part D and prescription coverage I see on TV. I am about 10 years away from that. I currently have one drug that is about $8,000 a year and that is just one drug. To date I have a prescription plan and I am only paying $240 yr. It seems like if you do not have a plan you get raped like like for hospital rates. I would also expect that there are people who are on Medicare who for whatever reason; too expensive, too complicated, too lazy, or picked the wrong plan drug plan to be covered.

    But if it is 1 out 5 I think that is probably a government success because you can lead a horse to water but can’t make him drink.


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