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Saturday, December 11, 2010

More Unintended Consequences of ObamaCare: Children’s Hospitals Lose Drug Discounts, Will See Costs Skyrocket

ObamaCare strikes again, and once again, it is the children that is suffering the most:

Shockingly, The New York Times is, apparantly, perplexed as to the reason why this is happening (bold emphasis is mine):

In an unintended consequence of the new health care law, drug companies have begun notifying children’s hospitals around the country that they no longer qualify for large discounts on drugs used to treat rare medical conditions.
As a result, prices are going up for these specialized “orphan drugs,” some of which are also used to treat more common conditions.

Over the last 18 years, Congress has required drug manufacturers to provide discounts to a variety of health care providers, including community health centers, AIDS clinics and hospitals that care for large numbers of low-income people.

Several years ago, Congress broadened the program to include children’s hospitals. But this year Congress, in revising the drug discount program as part of the new health care law, blocked these hospitals from continuing to receive price cuts on orphan drugs intended for treatment of diseases affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the United States.

THE REASON BEHIND THE CHANGE IS MURKY, though some drug makers had opposed expansion of the drug discount program. The discounts typically range from 30 percent to 50 percent, and children’s hospitals say the change is costing them hundreds of millions of dollars.

Under the new law, hundreds of rural hospitals became eligible for discounts for the first time, but the discounts are not available on orphan drugs, which account for a surprisingly large share of their outpatient pharmacy costs. At the same time, children’s hospitals lost access to discounts on the drugs.

Officials at some of these children’s hospitals are worried about how this will affect their sickest and helpless patients:

Joshua D. Greenberg, vice president of Children’s Hospital Boston, said that loss of the discounts “jeopardizes our ability to care for some of the sickest children with the most complex health care needs.”

Towards the end of the article they let us peek behind the curtain to allow us to see what this is all really leading to:

Drug companies said that the discount program was intended to help hospitals care for the uninsured, and that this need would diminish as millions of the uninsured gained coverage under Mr. Obama’s health care overhaul.

So, they are going to take away these drugs in order for the taxpayers to pay for it, once ObamaCare starts. Won’t people be grateful that the government came through and saved us from all of these high drug prices? Whether this is what was inteded or not, It will make those that would be covered by ObamaCare feel more reliant on ObamaCare, in extension the federal government, than they really are.

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