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Old 10-20-2010, 07:13 PM   #21
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I wonder how many here understand that sobering reference.
I did...and it hurt.


EDIT:

On that note...Voneggut's Harrison Bergeron is pretty sobering as well when it comes to current views on social equality.

"The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal."

Taken a look at kid's sports recently? We've already started scoping out options for my daughter, and it's hard to find a league that doesn't promote mediocrity, cast disdain on being proud to excel, or actually have "winners." Scary stuff man.
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:19 PM   #22
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I wonder how many here understand that sobering referenc.
Everyone, we all love our Big Brother.
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Old 10-20-2010, 07:41 PM   #23
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"...The lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'"

It is funny how most blacks simply forgot that the Democrats fought against the equal rights amendment, that the Democrats invented and implemented the Jim Crow laws, decided that segregation was preferable to integration in schools, and sided with unions to keep blacks from working at good-paying jobs in the North. If you give a fellow a check on the first and fifteenth of every month for doing nothing more than creating more government dependent children, he will be your slave for life, if he lacks dignity. Long live the welfare state, breaker of wills, destroyer of the human spirit.
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:45 PM   #24
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But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Obama.
I literally cried in class, silently, when I read the containing paragraph in high school after finishing an assignment early in computer class. It felt like someone had knocked the wind out of me while simultaneously kicking me in the nuts and breaking my nose. I was so incredibly overcome by emotion that I wanted to walk out of school, find a ditch, assume the fetal position, and vegetate for awhile. Our teacher, who was silently patroling the room caught me, hunched over, book laying face up on the floor beneath me, tears landing on top of the book. After reading the title, she put her hand on my shoulder and kindly said, "I'm sorry it ends like that."
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:00 PM   #25
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Yup. After Winston's time in isolation with the daily beatings, the last part of the book is a gut punch.
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:18 PM   #26
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hey guys. i know y'all go back and forth on the politics and i've been reading and trying to understand where you're coming from. it also seems clear that hating on obama is fashionable. but help me out with one thing. the yt that was posted there, when i hear obama talking about the rise in health care costs, it does make sense to me. i have seen it over last 10 years in my own premiums. as a middle class peeps i also feel squeezed.

so do y'all not agree with the solution to the problem, or not agree with the problem description as well as solution?

i lean a little bit libertarian for some things (at least as compared to my northern california brethren), but it seems healthcare is a bit tricky to get right using market forces only, as some things are so capital intensive (you need a big market to ammortize the costs over). IE: health care providers have more leverage over us than we do them.
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Old 10-21-2010, 01:37 AM   #27
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Several things.


First off, Brains quote was a good read. I enjoyed many parts of what was said, although some of it was over simplifying a very complex problem. I'll loosely paraphrase, "the poor man isn't worth $7.25 hr so he is blocked out of the job market" While this may be true in many cases, I've also noticed another cause. I've run into many people who could very easily hold a minimum wage job, in fact I'd say that in our region of this country most people on welfare could hold a minimum wage job. The problem is that they can make as much, if not more by staying on welfare. So why in the world would they want to get up at 6:30 am to ride a bus across town, to have some dude tell them what to do all day, when they can have the same lifestyle (big screen, play station etc) without lifting a finger.

Second. Last week I was a grocery store, standing in the front waiting for my co-worker to go through the line. In front of him was a lady in her 30's with a baby in the cart. She bought ~10 cans of baby formula. I was thinking, wow that's stupid, they cost 1/2 the price for twice as much at Costco. I should tell her, she is really wasting her money, that **** aint cheap. Well next she pulls out a bunch food stamps to pay for it, so I decide to keep my mouth shut, not wanting to embarrass her. As we walk out of the store, I notice her climbing into a brand new Hummer H3.

I couldn't say anything for fear of my job. I bet this happens a 1,000 times a day across this nation.
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Old 10-21-2010, 09:36 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by sixshooter View Post
I wonder how many here understand that sobering reference.

Brain: I <3 U! I really, really do.
That was exactly the reference I was expecting for the post I made above it. Glad to see we are all on the same page.

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although some of it was over simplifying a very complex problem. I'll loosely paraphrase, "the poor man isn't worth $7.25 hr so he is blocked out of the job market" While this may be true in many cases, I've also noticed another cause. I've run into many people who could very easily hold a minimum wage job, in fact I'd say that in our region of this country most people on welfare could hold a minimum wage job. The problem is that they can make as much, if not more by staying on welfare. So why in the world would they want to get up at 6:30 am to ride a bus across town, to have some dude tell them what to do all day, when they can have the same lifestyle (big screen, play station etc) without lifting a finger.
Yep, but that's just how those in power continue to get votes. It's a ploy, and I'll borrow from 1984 again: The High want to stay high, the middle want to be high, and the low could care less. The Middle use the Low to remove the High.

Eveyrone knows this, and this is why I hate the nanny state. "Since need, not achievement, is held as the criterion of rewards, the government necessarily keeps sacrificing the more productive groups to the less productive, gradually chaining the top level of the economy, then the next level, then the next"
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Old 10-21-2010, 10:59 AM   #29
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hey guys. i know y'all go back and forth on the politics and i've been reading and trying to understand where you're coming from. it also seems clear that hating on obama is fashionable. but help me out with one thing. the yt that was posted there, when i hear obama talking about the rise in health care costs, it does make sense to me. i have seen it over last 10 years in my own premiums. as a middle class peeps i also feel squeezed.

so do y'all not agree with the solution to the problem, or not agree with the problem description as well as solution?

i lean a little bit libertarian for some things (at least as compared to my northern california brethren), but it seems healthcare is a bit tricky to get right using market forces only, as some things are so capital intensive (you need a big market to ammortize the costs over). IE: health care providers have more leverage over us than we do them.
This post isn't easy to answer, but I'll do my best. A socialized health care system is not the answer. The #1 reason why healthcare costs so much is this: Malpractice lawsuits.

For some ungodly reason, people think that their own personal healthcare is more important than anything else in the world, including the U.S. Economy, GDP, insurance premiums, etc. You are probably much the same. You likely consider that your life is absolutely priceless, and that no sum of money in the universe would be a reason for you to die. Chances are, you will not provide enough economic value in your lifetime, no, in ten lifetimes, to cover what you think your life is worth. Am I wrong? If I made a deal with you, to give you $10 Billion today in exchange for your life, would you take it? I'm willing to bet that you wouldn't.

Why not? Let's assume that you will make $10 Million in your lifetime (Which is statistically highly unlikely), I'm offering to pay you the economic value of your life a thousand-fold...

Let's relate this to healthcare: You've been in an automobile accident, and you are in the ER. You can talk to the doctor, but you're dying quickly. He tells you: "There is a procedure that could save your life. It costs $1 million, and there is only a 2% chance that it could save your life. Would you like to try it?"

What do you answer?

Does your answer change depending if you're on health insurance?

Does your answer change if your health insurance is private or government?

Does your answer change if you think about it this way: The cost of this procedure saving one life is $50 million. Your life is economically worth $10 million.

If this procedure is available, and you aren't offered it and die, your surviving relatives will be suing for medical malpractice.

Socialized healthcare doesn't solve any of these problems, and it will add a HUGE administrative cost to the current healthcare system. A private company competing with other private companies is the absolute best way to reduce the costs of providing a service. A socialized system with no competition quickly becomes bloated and fat, and since it is government run, any audits performed on the system will be a complete joke.

Consider these solutions, instead:
1. Make it illegal to conduct medical testing on an individual WHICH WILL NOT AFFECT THE OUTCOME unless the individual has paid in full up front.
(Example: Last winter, I was diagnosed with the flu. I went to the doctor, he ran a culture, said I had the flu, and prescribed me tamiflu. He also said that I would likely have recovered on my own in about 2 days. After everything was complete, they came in a did another nasal swab to send off to a lab to test for H1N1. At that time the doctor said "it won't matter because you'll get better anyways, but we send a test in for everyone with the type A flu". HOLY ****, That was like $50 that insurance paid that they damn well shouldn't have, and they have to get their money from somewhere)

2. Make it illegal to sue for malpractice unless gross negligence can be proved within 30 days of discovery of the malpractice, and tie it to economic principles. In the example above, it would not be malpractice for the doctor to not perform a procedure with a 2% chance to save your life for $1 million, because it would be economic gross negligence to perform such an expensive and risky procedure in the first place. It would, however; be malpractice for the doctor to not ask if you could afford the $1 million up front, out-of-pocket, for the procedure.

3. Buy an insurance plan with a catastrophic cap on it - but the catastrophic cap protects the insurer, not you. Example: An insurance plan which caps insurance at $1 million per 365 days or $1 million per procedure, whichever is less costly. If you have a heart attack, and it will cost $2 million to save your life, then you will have an out-of-pocket bill for $1 million. I would bet that if you had this option, you would be MUCH more likely to ask the doctors: "What can we do to reduce the cost of my visit to the ER while still saving my life?" With current government regulations, this option might not even be legal?

4. Start a health savings account - cut out the insurer altogether. You can significantly reduce insurance administrative and profit costs to you. Since you will be paying for 100% of your own medical coverage, you will find ways to minimize the cost of your own healthcare. You won't see the doctor if you have a common cold or a sprained ankle. If you must see the doctor for a significant procedure, you'll ask for ways to keep costs to a minimum, and you'll seek cheaper alternatives - physical therapy instead of surgery. You'll also likely adopt a healthier life. Are you physically fit? Do you use tobacco? I'm willing to bet that you would see several doctors, but not for "second opinions", you would be getting quotes instead.

So, in closing, it's not the health insurance companies that are the reason for the huge price hikes in recent years. It is the individuals themselves. For some incredible and non-sensible reason, people think that "unlimited healthcare" is something they have a right to have, and they don't bother to care about the costs associated with it. I'm not saying that healthcare is something only the wealthy should be able to afford, but consider the actual costs associated with your own healthcare. Someone has to pay for it, and insurance companies aren't money trees - they have to get the money to pay for your insurance from somewhere...in the end, you pay for it; and if it's really expensive, I pay for it too, because my premiums will increase if you think the value of your life is infinite. The government option takes competition out of the marketplace, and competition is what creates lower prices. Also consider: With the government program, now we're asking the wealthy to pay for the poor, whereas before we were asking the healthy to pay for the sick. What incentive is there for the poor to work if they also get free healthcare on top of EVERYTHING ELSE that the wealthy are being forced to give them? What incentive is there for the poor to generate an economic return on their own healthcare? What dis-incentives are we creating for people to do things so great that they generate economic wealth? Are they going to put in long, hard years of their lives to become rich so we can take it all away from them?
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Old 10-21-2010, 11:09 AM   #30
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you're so wrong. health care providers make a profit. profits are evil. **** YOU. they need to be in business to give me money, cause giving me money for free is not evil.
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Old 10-21-2010, 02:19 PM   #31
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hey guys. i know y'all go back and forth on the politics and i've been reading and trying to understand where you're coming from. it also seems clear that hating on obama is fashionable. but help me out with one thing. the yt that was posted there, when i hear obama talking about the rise in health care costs, it does make sense to me. i have seen it over last 10 years in my own premiums. as a middle class peeps i also feel squeezed.

so do y'all not agree with the solution to the problem, or not agree with the problem description as well as solution?

i lean a little bit libertarian for some things (at least as compared to my northern california brethren), but it seems healthcare is a bit tricky to get right using market forces only, as some things are so capital intensive (you need a big market to ammortize the costs over). IE: health care providers have more leverage over us than we do them.
The health care bill, as with most government programs, has nothing to do with actually repairing the perceived problem. It is designed to put a huge volume of money, which is currently currently in the private sector, under the control of politicians.

Controlling the distribution of money is what gives politicians power. That is why taxes are so dangerous to our freedom. Politicians use their control over distribution of money to gain favor with constituent groups and contributors while likewise forsaking other constituent groups they perceive to have less value to their re-election campaigns. A politician's only job is to control more money so that he may gain a stronger constituency to increase his chances of re-election. His job is to get re-elected. His job is not to act as a statesman or to behave in the best interest of those he is elected to represent, his state, or his country.

So we know why politicians want the power, but why is there a problem with the cost of health care? There are two primary reasons. In the last forty years doctors have had to buy something that didn't exist previously- malpractice insurance. And as the trial lawyers and their colleagues, the former trial lawyers (called judges), figured out that there was a great deal of money to be made for very little work by suing wealthy doctors for things that they may or may not have done wrong. This problem necessitated doctors buying expensive malpractice insurance to protect their assets and their families from financial ruin. This increased cost was passed on to the customer. Unfortunately for everyone but the trial lawyers, the malpractice insurance companies made an even better target than the doctors for lawsuits. The insurance companies often found themselves paying multiple millions of dollars per lawsuit and subsequently raised their rates charged to the doctors by staggering amounts. These ridiculous increases were then passed on to- you guessed it- the consumer. That is the first part of the problem.

The second part of the problem developed initially in response to the consumer price increases in the first part- the creation of health insurance. Health insurance is a very new phenomenon. Previously, people always paid at the point of service or occasionally paid in installments because health care was very inexpensive. (The doctor and an assistant or two's wages were all of the expenses that existed with a doctor's visit and doctors made not terribly much more than a butcher or baker. Often the poor would pay for medical care with livestock or fresh produce from their gardens. There were no additional layers of costs at that time). As consumers could not always afford to pay the higher and higher costs at the point of service, especially for catastrophic or major medical expenses, insurance companies saw an opportunity to provide insurance against such costs to individuals. As the prices continued to rise for certain high-risk individuals, the insurers chose not to write new policies for them (not unlike a bad driver being dropped by an auto insurer).

The politicians saw an opportunity to intervene and passed laws to prevent insurers from dropping high-risk persons. This caused rates to skyrocket. Insurance providers eventually had to sell "group insurance" to try to keep the costs affordable for the most at-risk persons by raising the rates on those least at-risk. This caused the least at-risk persons to not want to carry any coverage because they were getting screwed by paying much more in premiums than they ever would pay to a doctor. So the least at-risk persons opted out.

The politicians then decided that it should be made mandatory that coverage should be provided by employers so that least at-risk employees wouldn't know how much they were actually spending on insurance and would be more likely to opt-in (This also caused an increase in unemployment and a lack of raises to employees due to the increased cost per employee for the employer).

Then, as a calculated effort by some to increase the cost to individuals further, the politicians passed many laws requiring that many additional types of services be covered by insurance. Many non-medical (psychiatric and addiction) services were added as mandatory coverage items. The politicians also extended the age of dependent children that must be coverable under the employer provided insurance, thereby driving the costs even higher. This combination of risk increases, additional mandatory coverage items, and the very presence of an additional layer of cost (the existence of an insurance company, complete with its own bureaucratic costs) is the second leg to the problem of high insurance rates.

The politicians who wanted to drive the cost up for individuals (and yes, they actually wanted the costs to go up) were doing so for one reason- POWER. The politicians knew that to gain enough public support to seize control of a huge part of our American economy, they needed public outcry. They needed a crisis. For the last twenty years certain groups of politicians have been purposefully pushing costs upward for all individuals with health insurance for the sole goal of seizing more power. They did so incrementally, and under the guise of "compassion" and "doing it for the children" or "necessity" or any number of other code words designed to be innocuous and difficult to argue against without appearing to be evil and heartless.

Well...it worked. Every contemplative fellow knows there is a problem here that needs a solution. What most don't realize is that it is a system designed to reach critical mass simply for political gains. Someone needs to ride in on a white horse and rescue the American people from this crisis and be their hero. A champion of the people to save them from [insert manufactured threat here] so that they will all be beholden to him and the governing power he represents. "Oh, save us dear Democrats from the crisis of high health care costs that looms over us!" And, predictably, they brought forth their solution- a government takeover.

So, now that we have identified the problems, why don't we simply enact tort reform to limit the ridiculous awards to greedy trial lawyers and start to disassemble the framework that created this mess? Two reasons- The National Bar Association is THE strongest and most well-funded lobby in existence- bar none (pun intended)- and there is great power to be had controlling the money behind 15-25% of America's GDP in the form of the health care industry. To complicate this further, the overwhelming majority of politicians ARE LAWYERS and are currently members of the American Bar Association. Additionally, have you ever met a politician that really wanted to give up some of his power and hand it back to the people? How dumb do we think they are? Once we hand any piece of our sovereignty to the government, even under the premise that it is temporary, we will never have it returned.

The funny thing is that most politicians know why health care is expensive, but don't care enough about us to intervene. They choose to treat the symptom and not the disease because it is beneficial to them. I really don't expect either party to really resolve the problem at this point. They are both beholden to some of the same interests and both have a vested interest in remaining in charge of that much money.


Sorry so long, but I'm pretty sick today and had nothing more important to do with my time. I started this at 9:00 and now it is 1:20pm...
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Old 10-21-2010, 02:44 PM   #32
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This post isn't easy to answer, but I'll do my best. A socialized health care system is not the answer. The #1 reason why healthcare costs so much is this: Malpractice lawsuits.
thank u for the reply. i'm still crunching on it, there are a lot of aspects to these things. maybe i'll just take one small piece while i'm thinking about it.

the malpractice thing is interesting. if i ask my wife about health care in hong kong she'll tell me yes, they have malpractice suits, but only for very egregious cases. its basically not a problem.

i don't know the numbers here, it seems its a big enough problem that liability insurance for a small doctor office has gotten to the point where the economics aren't working very well. the doctors are all leaving private practice and joining hospital staff just for the liability umbrella.

what boggles my mind is that to-date i have had a large faith in adjudication by a jury of my peers. i thought that the result would have to make sense, in a common sense way, to each individual jury member in order for that to become the verdict.

maybe whats being played out is that like you said, each person considers their life to be worth that much $$, and therefore awarding big $$ in a malpractice suit passes the common-sense-test.

i agree the money has to come from somewhere, so if the aggregate $$ awarded by juries is effecting the economics of healthcare, it needs to be fixed. what i don't know is what kind of policy would work better than the jury of peers...
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Old 10-21-2010, 03:35 PM   #33
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Socialized healthcare doesn't solve any of these problems, and it will add a HUGE administrative cost to the current healthcare system. A private company competing with other private companies is the absolute best way to reduce the costs of providing a service. A socialized system with no competition quickly becomes bloated and fat, and since it is government run, any audits performed on the system will be a complete joke.
please forgive, i've heard many different schemes which perhaps you are referring to but i'm a little fuzzy on the details.

i'll list the schemes i'm familiar with:

if money is payed into a government administered system, and that money is then payed out to health care providers which are also government administered, then yeah, probably not going to work so good. witness the VA. (to their credit, a little bad press helped the situation).

if money is payed into a government administered system and that money is then payed out on a secondary market to private health care providers then you might have something workable. government doesn't have a good track record for setting up computer systems except possibly for the IRS, so maybe/maybe-not.

if money is payed into individual insurance companies and then that is payed out on a competitive secondary market to health care providers then that might work. i do like the idea of having a government run program i can pay into which is run in parallel (the public option as discussed in context of recent health care legislation). this would set a ceiling for costs, albeit with your typical government efficiency, but it would set a ceiling nonetheless.


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4. Start a health savings account - cut out the insurer altogether. You can significantly reduce insurance admistrative and profit costs to you. Since you will be paying for 100% of your own medical coverage, you will find ways to minimize the cost of your own healthcare. You won't see the doctor if you have a common cold or a sprained ankle. If you must see the doctor for a significant procedure, you'll ask for ways to keep costs to a minimum, and you'll seek cheaper alternatives - physical therapy instead of surgery. You'll also likely adopt a healthier life. Are you physically fit? Do you use tobacco? I'm willing to bet that you would see several doctors, but not for "second opinions", you would be getting quotes instead.
i like this idea. the only thing which i find strange about health care is the current incentives have kept the prices arbitrarily high.

in computer industry, if you go back far enough, laser printers were > $1000. when everybody got a pc, the common operating system in use was, shall we say, a little bit challenged and it was easier to administer if everybody had a laser printer directly attached. after some small number of years and 100million units, laser printers got cheap.

i would be willing to do a savings account if i felt the prices were reasonable for an individual to pay. it would have a huge benefit for people taking a little personal responsibility. they would hopefully notice that ingesting 10 gallons of corn syrup per day gives you diabetes and diabetes sucks/is expensive.

to get the prices reasonable where an individual could pay them, i think you need to deal with both malpractice problem as well as the uninsured-go-to-emergency-room-and-then-never-pay problem. together they are blowing up the #'s.
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Old 10-21-2010, 04:58 PM   #34
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Any time the government handles money you lose an additional 20% or more due to overhead and inefficiencies in their bureaucracy.

Plus it allows the government to control the distribution of care. Smokers and the elderly will be denied care first. Then the chronically unwell and mentally ill and other less productive members of society. It will come. Euthanasia by denial of care is already the norm in many socialized medicine countries for the elderly and less productive (or chronically less healthy) in their societies.

Is anyone here old enough to remember the movie "Logan's Run?"
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Old 10-21-2010, 07:13 PM   #35
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I wouldn't put the full blame on malpractice, inflated values for dme and drug costs are also a significant expense.
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Old 10-21-2010, 10:55 PM   #36
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I wouldn't put the full blame on malpractice, inflated values for dme and drug costs are also a significant expense.
I wouldn't say the costs are inflated, Americans get stuck holding the bill since many other countries will only import generic pharmaceuticals. There is also a massive amount of R&D costs to recoup for the drugs that made it to market, as well as those that never materialized as a valid product. The patent for a prescription drug usually starts when R&D begins, so products usually aren't on the market very long before the patent expires and you can go to Walgreens and get a generic for a few dollars..
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Old 10-22-2010, 09:48 AM   #37
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It should be important to note, that without these patents and the high costs associated with them, we wouldn't have these drugs. This is one instance where government intervention (in the form of patent/copywright protection) has helped to advance development in the private sector.
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Old 10-22-2010, 09:51 AM   #38
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It only cost me 10 years of research using billion dollar machines and a team of highly paid scientists to come out with this drug after it passed through a panel of paid test subjects

We are only asking $10 a pill, you know, to keep things inflated.



You should look up the profit margins of the top 25 businesses in America... #1 is communications companies...cause you know, basic cable needs to cost $50 a month, and you have little alternative due to competition laws.
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:57 AM   #39
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Pharmaceutical companies have never been sued for gazillions of dollars by trial lawyers.
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:57 AM   #40
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