Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), chaired a panel at the African American Museum in Philadelphia last week to discuss problems of access to affordable healthcare, which included the problem of drug costs in America. It’s noteworthy that Secretary Sebelius conspicuously did not mention that as governor of Kansas she adopted a drug importation program through which residents of Kansas had online access to verified and low-cost international pharmacies.
During the panel discussions, a retired pastor, Delores McCabe, brought focus to the high cost of prescription medication. As reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
There has got to be something we can do above the Affordable Care Act that does something about an industry that is immoral,” [McCabe] said, drawing applause from the crowd. “It is immoral and unethical to charge people to stay alive.
In her response, Sebelius urged McCabe and the others to voice their opinions to their elected officials. She mentioned that strides have been taken to bring down costs during her time with the Obama administration, such as plugging the Medicare drug plan doughnut hold with 50% discounts and the passage of the Affordable Care Act through which more Americans will have healthcare insurance (and therefore lower drug costs). She also mentioned that as Governor of Kansas she was able to negotiate drug prices for Medicaid but that such negotiations for Medicare are illegal under federal law.
We wonder, however, why she omitted the fact that as governor she authorized the creation of a state website so Kansas residents could access verified international pharmacies offering safe and affordable prescription drugs from Canada and other countries. Apparently, what was once politically popular, helping Americans personally import safe and affordable prescription medication, appears less so. Unfortunately, its lack of political popularity has probably resulted in fewer Americans getting the medication they need. Hopefully this election season will shine a bright light on the plight of Americans and their inability to afford medication in the United States and all the effective solutions to the problem, politically popular or not.Tagged with: drug importation program, Health and Human Services, Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius, politics