Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump can be expected to lead our deadlocked non-functioning Congress out of their political games and into problem-solving mode. A majority of voters dislike both candidates, and if elected, neither will have much influence with the public or Congress. Lack of leadership causes dysfunctional government and millions in our society are struggling financially as a result.

For example, economic recovery hasn’t restored even a modicum of prosperity to those that lost their jobs, savings and homes following the economic crash in 2007. The Affordable Care Act was enacted without measures to control rapidly rising health insurance premiums and provider price increases. Congress passed Medicare Part D, with Big Pharma’s help, in 2003 and agreed to block Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices. Now drug prices are skyrocketing. For example, a Consumers Report study shows that hospitals hugely markup biologic infusion drug prices. A biologic called Rituxan costs the hospital $3,500. The hospital then jacks up the patient price to $13,702.

Bloomberg Business Week reports a shell game called “Co-pay Charities.” Drug makers fund “Co-pay Charities” with billions and pass the cost on to the health-care system, increasing drug prices.

An example is Gleevec, a drug to treat chronic myeloid leukemia. The drug costs $200 to make but is priced at $120,000 for patients. According to Bloomberg there are seven of these “non-profit” charities now receiving billions in donations from drug makers. The largest, Patient Advocate Network, has received $1 billion in donations.

Our government ignores or approves this Big Pharma price-inflating shell game. It is quite unlikely that Congress and Hillary or Donald as president will resolve these issues. Unless a true leader and a better Congress is elected now, the many serious struggles going on in our society today will continue.

Jim Chiddix

Waterville

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