Fewer cures for patients, or less money for you, Rep. Ferguson?

“Fewer Cures for Patients Act — #HR3 — would discourage investment and halt medical innovation needed to cure serious diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. House Democrats are working towards fewer cures instead of fighting for life-saving treatments for patients.” – Rep. Drew Ferguson blaming Nancy Pelosi, in 10-19 tweet


Wow, Rep. Ferguson really opened our eyes on this one, if it’s true, but it’s not. 
HR3’s real name is the Lower Drug Costs Now Act…and that’s exactly what it’s going to do if partisan politics doesn’t get it in the way via people like Ferguson. It was passed by the House and is now awaiting Senate review, along with hundreds of other worthy bills stopped by the ‘Grim Reaper” McConnell.
Now, why would Rep. Ferguson want to deceive the voters that way? Could it be campaign contributions from Big Pharma, insurance behemoths, and others? Before we detail his motives, let’s examine the act itself using the bi-partisan web site “Congress.gov.” as a data source.
In short, HR3 removes current legal prohibitions on the Feds negotiating drug prices for the top 125 drugs. The way things are now, due to the self-serving influence of the healthcare-industrial complex of which Ferguson is a part, Medicare can’t negotiate drug prices by law. So much for the free market. The current situation is just corporate welfare designed to help big for-profit corporations to take our money via Medicare and deductibles for seniors.
In other words, picture yourself going into a used car dealership and being told “Here’s the price, take it or leave it There’s a Federal law stating you can’t bargain with me, sucker.” Except it’s not so easy when, instead of a used car, you need lifesaving insulin for your diabetes or a vital brand drug that has no generic alternative.
The bill goes on to state that the negotiated price can be higher than other nations (which I disagree with in principle), but it can only be 120 percent more than the average price in Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Australia, or Japan (with reasonable provisions if this data is not available), which should tell you a lot about where current prices are in the USA versus other developed nations.
We Americans are getting stuck paying the freight while other countries literally laugh at us. 
The bill also cuts the out-of-pocket expenses for those with Medicare. Further, it eliminates “cost-sharing” above the established threshold under Part D. This may sound confusing to laymen under 65, but just ask your parents or grandparents about the tremendous bills they can get stuck with if they are very ill and need continuing expensive medications. My family has that problem right now.
Sounds great, right? Everyone benefits regardless of whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, or independent, correct? Well, not so fast. Let’s return to why Rep. Ferguson and his buddies have purposefully mislabeled this act to confuse the public.
In his 2017 campaign, Ferguson got nearly $300,000 from the health and insurance industries (see Open Secrets for more). The majority of that was hard to trace PAC money. During that campaign, he only received 3 percent ($26,349) from individuals giving under $200.
For the 2019-2020 election, the same pattern is true. Far and away, his largest industry contributions have once again been from the healthcare-industrial complex.
So, is it any wonder that Ferguson and his buddies would mislabel a bill designed to help consumers (the voters, you and me) versus big pharma, insurance, and other large organizations with strong lobbyists?
The good news is that the situation can theoretically change now that the Bill was passed by the full House. The bad news is that it will not, unless we all pressure Congressman Ferguson and our Senators to represent us versus powerful corporations, and a first step is for all of us to ask Rep. Ferguson to change his mind and support HR 3, and then recommend that Senators Perdue and Loeffler vote for it. Step two is for us to call Senators Loeffler and Perdue in DC to ask for their support.

Jack Bernard, a retired SVP with a large national healthcare firm, has worked extensively with hospitals across the nation regarding cost containment and insurance. He was also the first Director of Health Planning for Georgia.

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