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11 Major Drug Companies Raked in $85 Billion Last Year, and Left Many to Die Who Couldn't Buy Their Pricey Drugs

The public is being robbed.

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So what can we do about this? How do we drive down the costs of prescription medications?

Right now in Canada, drugs cost a fraction of what they do here.

That’s largely because in Canada, there is a single-payer insurance program that negotiates prescription prices.

As the group Physicians for a National Health Program (a group of doctors campaigning for a single-payer healthcare system) points out, when all patients are under one healthcare system, the payer, or the American citizen, has a lot more clout and influence over the pharmaceutical industry.

For example, the Veterans Administration gets a roughly 40% discount on prescription drugs because of its large buying power. Imagine if that buying power were spread to all Americans. Instead, Republicans put into Medicare Part D that it is illegal for Medicare to negotiate with the drug companies for discounts – they have to pay full retail.

Competition and negotiation – what some would call “the free market” - are the great fears of Big Pharma, and why Big Pharma is so opposed to a single-payer system.

But isn’t it about time that we put the lives of Americans ahead of the padded wallets of Big Pharma’s executives and stockholders?

It’s time to save lives.

We already have a single-payer non-for-profit healthcare system in America – it's called Medicare. All we need to do is reduce the eligibility age to birth, and give it the ability to negotiate prices with the drug companies.

I call it Medicare Part E – E for Everybody. It could be done with a two-page piece of legislation, and has been proposed repeatedly in Congress only to be blocked by Republicans.

Wake up your friends and neighbors and tell them about it, and call your legislators. Medicare for everybody!

Thom Hartmann is an author and nationally syndicated daily talk show host. His newest book is "The Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America — and What We Can Do to Stop It."

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