Epipen Outcry: Surprise! Blame Obamacare

Epipen Outcry: Over the last several days, news reports have been filled with the outcry over the 400+% increase in the cost of epipens, which dispense essential life-saving medications for people with allergies, including children with food allergies.

Naturally, the pretend news, in that charming and ridiculously superficial way that they have, are ranting and raving about Evil Big Pharma, this time their outrage focused on Mylan, the manufacturer of the epipens, and the dramatic increase in their CEO’s pay (from $2,453,456. In 2015 she earned $18,931,068, NBC reported.

This story on Good Moron America did report Mylan’s response about people being involvined in “high deductible plans.” MMM… What could be the cause of that?

Ah yes, class envy! The greed of the 1%! Not so fast. Before you become a volunteer for wacko Green Party candidate Jill Stein or join the Communist Party, look below the surface. Wake up and smell the government!

Many, many middle class Americans, the 85% who lived the “Ward and June Cleaver” lifestyle (albeit in a 21-st Century version with Mom working outside the home in some cases), married couples and their children living in the suburbs, working for corporate America and receiving employer-provided health insurance, in other words, the people that Barack Obama believed deserved payback for their “white privilege,” used to get these epipens, along with other medications, for an affordable co-pay. Obamacare was designed to “fix” that because it wasn’t “fair.” Why should the children of parents who work at least 40 hours a week to provide for them have access to better health care than the serial baby momma, the wino, or the stinky guy pushing the shopping cart and swearing at his imaginary friend? No no no! Payback’s a bitch, my suburban friends, and now you will pay for the Downtrodden as well as for your own health care. Don’t worry. You can afford it. Obamacare is not insurance, as I have been telling you for over 7 years, because once the medical underwriting is removed, the program is not insurance. It’s income redistribution pure and simple. Hence the high deductibles, as insurance companies find a way to pay for all the freeloaders who are the favored in Obama’s America.

I direct your attention to a piece from way in 2013, “The Definitive Guide to How Obamacare is Destroying American Lives,” at The Matt Walsh Blog. He put out a call to readers soliciting stories about how Obamacare had impacted their lives. I would encourage you to read the whole thing. It is EXTREMELY telling. Here’s one response, especially on point since we’re talking about the epipen:

How many times did President Obama say, “If you like your plan you can keep it.” Lie. We got a letter stating that due to the Affordable Care Act, our insurance company can no longer offer our plan. The closest thing they can offer to the plan we had increases the cost of health insurance (premiums) and healthcare (out of pocket) for our family by $10,027.28 over the $13,295 we paid in 2013. And that does not even include orthodontics and glasses/contacts which cost our family around $2,500 per year. And how many times did we hear, “You can keep your doctor.” Well, technically, but it’s going to cost us an extra $3000 to keep our family physician, my OB and our choice of hospital. There is no Catholic hospital on the list of preferred facilities we got from our insurance company. Coincidence? Probably not. In a nutshell: We can’t keep our plan. We are paying more ($10,026.28 – 75% more) to get less, and to keep our doctors will cost us $3000. We are contemplating going without insurance altogether. I am expecting a baby in April, and I am seriously considering skipping the recovery room because we can’t afford it. How does this improve healthcare? (emphasis in original post)

My 14 year old son has a life threatening milk allergy. He must have 2 EpiPens available where ever he is, or a total of 6 EpiPens. We have two at home, one in the nurses office at school and he wears one on a belt every day to school, and we have two in a “medicine bag” at home that he takes with him whenever he leaves the house (other than school).

Up until last year, his EpiPens cost us $25 for a twin pack to refill. So we were spending on average $75 – $100 a year on his life saving medication. As soon as it became mandated that employers pick up the cost of birth control (which is I believe a portion of Obamacare that went into effect last August), my husband’s employer reconfigured their prescription tiers. Because, although birth control pills (which are a CHOICE) are free to consumers now, they are not free. The shift in prescription drug tiers included moving my son’s LIFE SAVING medication, which is not a CHOICE, to a different tier and we began paying nearly $70 for each refill.

This past year, my husband got a new job with different insurance. Our new prescription plan is even worse for my son’s life saving medication. We now pay $100 for every twin pack. We will now spend $300 – $400 per year in refills for his LIFE SAVING medication. (emphasis mine)

Of course, now numerous political weasels in Congress, including democrats who are YUGE Obamacare supporters like Minnesota’s Sen. Amy Klobuchar, are outraged about this epipen price increase, demanding hearings and otherwise trying to pretend to be bystanders, when in fact it is the very policies that they support that have caused this problem. They hope that their constituents won’t figure it out.

I wonder how many of these hard-working middle class families, believing in Obama’s “hope and change” con voted for the very guy who created this problem for them on purpose? If you know anyone like that, perhaps you should share this post with them and on your social network sites to clue them in.

Yes, as I always like to remind you of the immortal words of the late William F. Buckley, “Decent people should ignore politics, if only they could be confident that politics would ignore them.” Those words are worth remembering as we approach the next presidential election.

22 comments

  1. Concerned Parent Who Knows Better

    Is it that you honestly haven’t done your research, or you have but are choosing to ignore it to push your agenda? I am a mom with two peanut allergic children who has been paying thousands for my epipens for years. I have had a high deductible plan for years. Both of these occurred well before Obamacare was put into place. Mylan’s strategy has always been to raise the price of epipens 15-20% per quarter, every year, since they purchased the drug from Merck in 2008. What else changed? Sanofi’s AuviQ was removed from the market due to safety issues, and a potential competitor was not approved by the FDA. My background is with one of the biggie insurance companies, who will remain nameless, but I can tell you with absolute authority that shifting cost to consumers has been the big push in the industry for several years. High deductible health plans and their accompanying HSAs were the brainchild of President Bush, my friend, not Obama. In fact, there were protections against these kinds of prices increased in the original version of the Affordable Care Act. Who do you suppose wouldn’t sign it until those restrictions were stripped? Those who decried interference with the free market, i.e. house Republicans, if you hadn’t guessed, yet. Do your homework before spreading rumors, please.

    • I’m not spreading any rumors. If you read the piece cited in the post, your experience is not typical of that of others who did see the cost of their epipens escalate dramatically after the ACA. OF COURSE insurance companies have always tried to shift more costs onto the insured, and avoid paying out benefits, however the reason that so many people have seen these astronomical deductibles is the “Affordable” (what a joke!) Care Act because of course, once the government mandated that even pre-existing conditions be covered, insurance companies were no longer providing insurance. They were assisting the government in income redistribution.

      If you had a high-deductible plan, which didn’t cover these meds, I assume that was your choice, and I fully support your right to make that choice. In most cases, a high-deductible plan makes sense in the long run for most things. You know you’re going to pay more for something you need, but you aren’t paying a huge amount every month for things you never use. You can save the $ you’d spend on premiums to pay for the meds you actually need, no?

      And OF COURSE Mylan wanted to raise the price of this drug. They aren’t a charity. As you know, this medication’s patent protection has expired, so Mylan’s strategy was to raise prices, and sell more. Congress, and Obama helped facilitate that when in 2013, he signed the widely-supported School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, giving financial incentives to schools to stock them. Cha-ching!

      Health savings accounts and high deductible plans were terrific, until the government mandated that every plan provide coverage for conditions that particular consumers might not want or need. Pregnancy coverage for people over 60? Birth control for women who have hysterectomies? Why? Because it’s not insurance for the individual consumer. It’s income redistribution mandated by the Marxist in the White House. Young people should be able to buy extremely high deductible plans, with coverage for only castrophic or life-threatening conditions. They used to be able to do that, but now, they have to subsidize Obama’s Downtrodden and pay through the nose for “insurance” they don’t need.

      And, those who want to keep the government out of price controls on meds are ABSOLUTELY correct. Do you think that there would be any epipens or any other life-saving meds without capitalism? Good luck with that. BTW, if the price of these epipens goes way up, won’t that encourage other companies to enter the marketplace, creating competition for this product, which doesn’t exist today? (Rhetorical question–those who don’t understand that, please consider remedial Econ 101)

      So, I disagree with you about some things, but I am not spreading “rumors.”

  2. 1. Companies have been applying for FDA approval. So far, they have been denied.
    2. No, it is not my choice. It is all my company and my husband’s company has offered–for years.
    3. Yes, prices have skyrocketed for me…but not just this month. They’ve gone up 15-20% every quarter, every year, for several years in a row. More people are covered under insurance now with ACA. These are people who have high deductible plans–who previously had no insurance at all. My comments stand.
    Please stop using something that has affected my family quite personally to push your political agenda.

    • Hey there,
      1. If the medication commands a higher price, more companies will enter the arena, and will invest more resources to get approval. If Hillary Clinton becomes president, one of them can expedite the process by making a contribution to The Clinton Foundation.

      2. Pre-Obamacare, it was your choice. You could have decided to not have health insurance at all, and there were many more options in the market if you wanted to get your medical insurance on your own and not from an employer. Or you could get a different employer. The point is, it actually is your choice. The only thing difference is that now, post ACA, you have fewer choices.
      Had we had a free market oriented person trying to solve these problems, rather than a big government elitist, we could have had even more because people could have been given the opportunity to buy insurance across state lines.

      3. Sorry to hear about your premiums going up so very much. Post ACA, many more people will suffer the same fate. Many of the people covered with insurance post ACA have Medicaid, which many physicians in my state will not take. If you have an “insurance card,” but no doc takes your “insurance,” I’m not sure that you are better off. If you have “insurance,” but your deductible is several thousand dollars a year, maybe a third or half of what you take home in pay, I’m not sure how you are better off than you were when you had to pay for medical services out of pocket. You still have to pay out of pocket because nothing is covered until you pay thousands on your own, but you pay a premium every month for “insurance.” What a great deal! Wow that ACA was a great little piece of legislation!

      4. I never assumed you were retracting any of your comments, nor did I know whether you would find any of the information I provided worth considering. The fact that your family is affected by this issue, just as every family in America is, does not foreclose others from having an opinion, and stating it, on this extremely important public policy matter.

      • I don’t have time at this moment to fully explain complicated insurance policies, and I strongly suspect that you are reading what you want to read and not what I’m saying. Please try to have an open mind and hear this one piece that is crucially important to understand, since you brought it up. No, I absolutely did NOT have a choice to buy individual insurance before ACA was passed. In fact, when I was in my early twenties and reasonably healthy, but had the unfortunate luck of getting Lyme Disease needing intravenous meds and neurological care, I was dropped from my medical insurance like a hot potato and forced to be on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in intravenous meds and specialist visits. The ACA has made that illegal. I haven’t been able to purchase an individual plan, and believe me, I’ve tried, because I have Lyme Disease in my medical history. No one would take me. Denying people based on preexisting conditions is now illegal. My father in law, after being laid off at a point where he was too old to find another job, yet not old enough to qualify for Medicare, after exhausting COBRA and with a heart condition couldn’t find any insurer willing to take him for less than $3,000/month, single coverage. And that was only one plan. Most denied him. What do you think happens when people CANNOT get medical insurance? They go to the ER. Who do you think pays the price for people who can’t afford the subsequent bill? The insured. It drives up medical costs for the hospital to recoup enough to operate, and the people with insurance are picking up the tab. Notice I did not say insurance companies pay. They pass along those costs to policyholders. My former company has posted record earnings since ACA was passed. While, yes, raising premiums under the guise of Obamacare. Do you see the issue? They are using the consumer protection piece of it as an excuse to raise premiums and make even more money. But, again, this is not an insurance issue. And I did not say my premiums went up (actually, they interestingly went down despite having a lower deductible than in the past, but thanks for your concern there). I said the price of Epipens has gone up. I’m simply saying that it is not only since the ACA was passed. The most recent increase, which has made me question whether or not how exactly we can continue and IF we can continue to afford them, putting my children’s LIVES at risk is precisely why I am so irked by your insistence on using our suffering as a platform for your political agenda. I said it before, but AuviQ was taken off market and the new generic expected to get FDA approval was denied. Mylan exploited that fact, along with the fact that there is a huge market of moms who will do anything to get their children life saving medication. You must not have any children who actually need these, or would know that I am one of tens of thousands facing this same issue.

        Also, on simply getting a new job to get better insurance? Gee, I hadn’t thought of that! Do you not think I have tried? My background is in health insurance, and thus that is where the job offers were. All major health plans have ONLY offered high deductible plans for several years. I know because I was either employed by, or had several friends and colleagues employed by, all of the major ones.

        To your point on innovation. It’s interesting how you are saying that to someone who is the daughter of a person (at last count because he doesn’t openly brag about it), with more than 30 medical device patents in his name. A few of which I can say with almost certainty you encountered at your last medical visit. Many of which have saved lives. We lived comfortably growing up, yet somehow he didn’t use it to exploit dying people to make tens of millions per year. My own family still can’t afford our Epipens! You know about patents, right? There are many other incentives in this country to encourage innovation, other than the possibility of one day owning a near monopoly on a drug already off patent, that many must carry as a lifesaving device, with virtually no competition, and exploiting that fact.

        • P.S. While my family was previously denied insurance before ACA, we were able to obtain it from the exchange during the 3 month waiting period of my husband’s new job, at a pretty reasonable rate $600/month vs nearly $2,000 for COBRA. ONE claim from my family with our medical issues would have bankrupted us.

  3. “If you have “insurance,” but your deductible is several thousand dollars a year, maybe a third or half of what you take home in pay, I’m not sure how you are better off than you were when you had to pay for medical services out of pocket. You still have to pay out of pocket.” Absolutely right! So why do those pesky Republicans, and Donald Trump, keep pushing them? The premise of building up a health savings account to pay your claims doesn’t work when you have to pay $4,000-5,000 on say, Epipens, without fail, year after year.

    • I’m not talking about people who, pre-Obamacare, chose high deductible plans, knowing that if they did have a medical event, they would have to pay several thousand out of pocket. I’m talking about people who had decent, employer-provided insurance, with much more modest deductibles pre-Obamacare, who saw their deductibles skyrocket as insurance companies dealt with government mandates including paying for pre-existing conditions and freeloaders. If I choose a high deductible plan because I want a lower monthly premium, that’s one thing. If I am paying a higher premium because I want to have more coverage, only to discover that even though my situation is unchanged, I suddenly have the same, or an even higher premium because of government mandates, PLUS now a hig
      h deductible plan, that’s Obamacare.

  4. I really didn’t want to make this a political party issue, but am only pointing out most conservatives would like to repeal Obamacare, and all of its consumer protections, while keeping and propagating high deductible health plans. Yet, people (erroneously because whether or not this pushed them to new markets faster, believe me, they were coming, and fast) attribute their high deductible health plans to Obamacare. I grew up in a Republican household with a few family members who are retired politicians. I don’t currently identify with either party and vote on issues rather than party, but couldn’t escape pointing out that you seem to be anti-high deductible and anti-Obamcare. And vote for and promote the party looking for more high deductible health plans. You don’t really get to be both. Believe me insurance companies would LOVE to no longer have to be subject to shorter appeal review times for urgent claims, or have to insure people who cut into profits too much. Before you say that’ll stimulate the economy, I’ve already lived through too many rounds of layoffs from a company posting record profits to believe in that anymore.

    • I’m not “pro high-deductible plans.” I’m pro-choice, as in I want people to be able to choose what’s best for their personal and family situations without the federal government putting its boot on their throats to force them to pay for things they don’t need to facilitate their socialist income redistribution scheme, which is all Obamacare is and ever was; that is, the MOTHER of all income redistribution schemes. I would favor allowing people to buy health insurance across state lines to provide more options. I think I said that for many people high-deductible plans make A LOT of sense. If someone is young and healthy, that is DEFINITELY the way to go. I have friends over 65 who are healthy who have Medicare supplemental plans that are very high deductible because they realize that it’s foolish to pay a high monthly premium just so that everything will be covered in the rare eventuality that they may need it. Insurance companies no doubt have engaged in some abusive practices. I’ve had my battles with them as well. I have had 3 fairly major surgeries since December so I know how they try to push the limits of what is “deductible.” what is “out of pocket,” and what is “co-insurance.” I’m an attorney and I didn’t find those EOB’s easy to understand. In fact, they made no sense! Still don’t. As for layoffs, of course, we’ve had a stagnant rotten economy for the last 7+ years. Welcome to socialism under our first Marxist president. Just yesterday we learned that economic growth in the 2nd quarter was only 1.1 percent, which means virtually zero. Barack Obama is the only president in American history to never have a quarter with economic growth of at least 3%, which is what happens when you increase taxes to steal from the productive and give to the government. Of course, as I predicted several weeks ago, I’m sure that one of the next quarters before BHO leaves office will be declared +3%, only to be revised after he leaves office. Can’t have that stain on the One’s legacy, and since low-information people won’t know the difference why not? With all the cooking of the books that’s gone one so far, it’s pretty certain that’s what they will do. To say that we have an unemployment of 5% or less and growth of 1.1% is completely non-sensical. The numbers don’t add up. Businesses won’t add employees when there’s no growth, and those who own those businesses with lay off people to hang out to what they have in times of high taxes and big government, hence the higher profits. They aren’t going to take the chance that things will get worse, which of course they always do until someone comes along and reverses the policies that strangle the economy. It’s rational behavior. If you fear that you might lose your job, you cut back on what you consider discretionary expenses. If a business is forced to pay more out in taxes and government mandated spending through regulation, they cut back on employees to preserve, or even potentially increase, their profits. The remaining employees will have to work a little harder, but the hope is that the business will survive, which is all any of us have been able to hope for under this horrific regime.

  5. Still not listening to what I’m saying. I’ll leave you with this tidbit of info. I’m sorry to hear about your surgeries and insurance trouble. I’ve been in that boat many times, and it was no different from the inside.

    http://usuncut.com/class-war/epipen-taxpayer-money/

    • I think everyone has had issues dealing with their insurance companies. I feel fortunate actually when I look around and see what’s happened to many other people. My surgeries were sports-related issues. Wore out all my cartilage with too much running! I am grateful I had something that could be repaired, albeit after having suffered considerable pain and inconvenience. I appreciate your comments, and I shall check out the link you posted. I wish you and your family all the very best, and hope that you all remain healthy for all your days.

  6. No surprise, is it?

  7. As you know, John, it depends on your plan. I’m glad that your plan covers your meds!

  8. Don’t worry, it’ll come back to you next year when your premiums go up. That’s how that works.

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