The only reason we have to debate about health care is because nobody wants to address the elephant in the room. The problem isn’t the plan - its the control that pharmaceutical companies (PhRMA) have over American consumers.

Politicians, in exchange for huge contributions, look the other way after having passed laws permitting PhRMA to monopolize drug manufacturing. After buying out competitors and purchasing the patents, they ensure big profits by setting high prices for drug prescriptions. Additional laws require insurance companies to provide coverage for these medications, which increases the premiums that we are forced to pay. Meanwhile, the American people struggle to keep up with medical costs, which eventually causes some to lose coverage.

PhRMA has not profited from many breakthrough drugs in several years, so rather than spending money on research without guaranteed results, most of their budget goes toward marketing existing drugs and lobbying for political support to keep current laws in place. To make matters worse, foreign governments are not bound by these laws, allowing them to negotiate prescription costs, which PhRMA agrees to for fractional profit.

Rather than arguing over whose plan is better, our politicians should start looking beyond their own interests, and start focusing on those that voted them into office to begin with. Otherwise, what choice do we have but to fight, get sick, and die trying to fight a losing battle.

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Mark Kainu

Rock Island

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