There’s growing evidence that a majority of U.S. voters, across the three-party landscape, agree on two healthcare issues this year: coverage of pre-existing conditions, and lowering the consumer-facing costs of prescription drugs.
A new poll jointly conducted by Politico and the Harvard Chan School of Public Health bolsters my read on the latter issue – prescription drug pricing, which has become a mass popular culture union.
There may be no other issue on voters’ collective minds for the 2018 mid-term election that so unites American voters than the demand for lower-cost medicines.
This is directly relates to consumers’ tri-party demand for ensuring that health plans cover pre-existing conditions: chronic disease, such as managing risks for heart disease and treating diabetes, are largely amenable through a patient’s adherence to prescription drug regimens (coupled with lifestyle modifications).
Check out the table’s third row, from the Politico/Harvard survey: overall, 2 in 3 U.S. adults favor having the FDA approve more generic, over-the-counter (non-prescription, or switched Rx’s), and biosimilar drugs to encourage more competition. This is the tactic that most Americans say could lower prescription drug prices.
That’s a majority view across the three parties: 8 in 10 Republicans, over half of Democrats, and two-thirds of Independents.
The top line-item is important, too — liberating pharmacists to counsel consumers on whether paying cash at retail would cost the patient less than paying via their insurance co-payment. This is often the scenario when an Rx has moved to the generic Tier 1 category on a PBM formulary. In this instance, cash can be king for the consumer enrolled in a high-deductible health plan with a prescription drug benefit. That high-deductible exposes the patient to first-dollar coverage, a financial risk-shift that many patients-as-consumers still don’t know how to manage very well.
Health Populi’s Hot Points: When it comes to moderating the price of prescription drugs, there’s been public support for the issue in the U.S. for several years across political party lines. The Kaiser Health Tracking Poll has measured this sentiment over time, with this survey (shown in the bar chart) from 2017 finding the vast majority of Americans favoring Federal government negotiation to lower prices of drugs for people on Medicare.
This is how it’s done in other wealthy nations.
There’s also a policy idea floating inside the Beltway that Americans should be allowed to self-import prescriptions drugs from other countries. But this is simply sanctioning U.S. health citizens to ride on the coattails of peer patients living in other countries whose leadership has successfully negotiated cheaper prescription drug prices.
Isn’t that hypocritical and also bad global citizenship? Why should U.S. patients drain the value-priced prescription drug supplies of other nation’s health citizens whose elected leaders have been good stewards of their health citizens’ pocketbooks? Why can’t U.S. political leadership do the same?
The issue of prescription drug prices is such a part of pop culture that you can even vote for ‘the most hated pharmaceutical CEO in America’ on the Patients for Affordable Drugs website.