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How Big Pharma Is Killing Americans

Health & Wellness  (tags: americans, Big Pharma, cancer, children, disease, drugs, environment, ethics, family, food, government, healthcare, medicine, prevention, protection, research, safety, science, society, treatment )

- 1879 days ago -
Thanks to America's for-profit health insurance industry, prescription drugs are a big business.

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Kit B (276)
Monday April 29, 2013, 7:29 pm
Pill Spill photo in public domain

How Big Pharma Is Killing Americans

Each year, millions of Americans are dealt the devastating news that they have cancer, and each year, millions of Americans, many of whom are uninsured, have to figure out how to pay for the life-saving treatments that they need.

And unfortunately, that decision can be a very hard one.

Thanks to America’s for-profit health insurance industry, prescription drugs are a big business.

In fact, in 2012, the top 11 global drug companies made nearly $85 billion in net profits.

They made these profits by slapping extraordinary price tags on the prescription drugs and health treatments that Americans are forced to rely on in order to survive devastating diseases like cancer.

But while drug companies have been largely able to get away with robbing Americans left and right for the past several decades, more and more people are speaking up about the outrageous costs of lifesaving treatments.

A group of more than 100 leading oncologists from across the globe have penned a journal article, announcing their plans to start a campaign to force drug companies to slash their profit margins.

In the article, the groups of oncologists ask, “What determines a morally justifiable price for a cancer drug? A reasonable drug price should maintain healthy pharmaceutical industry profits without being viewed as 'profiteering'.”

But cancer drugs aren’t the only drugs on the market that are gouging the wallets of Americans.

Last year, 11 of the 12 new-to-market drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration were priced above $100,000 per-patient per-year.

And, Americans pay nearly 50% more for comparable prescriptions in the United States than they would in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and a host of other developed nations.

For instance, look at Nexium, a drug commonly prescribed to treat acid reflux.

In Spain, a prescription for Nexium costs, on average, $18. In France and the United Kingdom, Nexium costs, on average, $30 and $32 respectively.

But here in the United States, a prescription for Nexium costs, on average, a whopping $187, six times as much as it costs in France and the UK.

Lipitor is another commonly prescribed medication in the United States, used to treat high cholesterol. In New Zealand, a prescription for Lipitor costs, on average, just six dollars. And in South Africa and Spain, it costs $11 and $13 respectively. But here in the United States, a prescription of Lipitor costs, on average, $100.

These are just two of the commonly used drugs that are bankrupting Americans.

Other commonly used medications, like Nasonex, Cymbalta, Vytorin and Celebrex also cost far more in the United States than in other countries in the developed world.

Prescription drug pricing in the United States is unregulated, which means that Big Pharma can charge whatever it wants for prescription drugs.

If you ask executives at America’s top pharmaceutical drugs about the high costs of prescription drugs, they’ll tell you that high and increasing drug prices are needed to sustain research and development efforts. But numerous studies have debunked those claims.

One study, by the group Families USA, found that America’s major drug companies are spending more than twice as much on marketing, advertising and administration than they do on research and development.

The report also found, not surprisingly, that the total profits of America’s top pharmaceutical companies far exceed their research and development costs.

Make no mistake about it. Lifesaving medications and commonly prescribed drugs in America today are absurdly expensive here – and only in this country – because Big Pharma is ripping off Americans.

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!
***Check out links within Article at VISIT SITE***

By The Daily Take, The Thom Hartmann Program | Op-Ed | Truthout |

Truthout is able to confront the forces of greed and regression only because we don’t take corporate funding. Support us in this fight: make a tax-deductible donation today by clicking here. (At VISIT SITE)

JL A (281)
Monday April 29, 2013, 7:30 pm
Time to let Medicare negotiate US prices, too--here is a key article quote for that:
"And, Americans pay nearly 50% more for comparable prescriptions in the United States than they would in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and a host of other developed nations.

For instance, look at Nexium, a drug commonly prescribed to treat acid reflux.

In Spain, a prescription for Nexium costs, on average, $18. In France and the United Kingdom, Nexium costs, on average, $30 and $32 respectively.

But here in the United States, a prescription for Nexium costs, on average, a whopping $187, six times as much as it costs in France and the UK.

Lipitor is another commonly prescribed medication in the United States, used to treat high cholesterol. In New Zealand, a prescription for Lipitor costs, on average, just six dollars. And in South Africa and Spain, it costs $11 and $13 respectively. But here in the United States, a prescription of Lipitor costs, on average, $100.

These are just two of the commonly used drugs that are bankrupting Americans."

Kit B (276)
Monday April 29, 2013, 7:40 pm

Another example, I have to pay $71.00 a month for prescription eye drops, that is the discounted generic price. At a time when we have very high unemployment we are assisting the Pharmaceutical companies in holding us hostage to the needs for prescriptions.

Debbie G (306)
Monday April 29, 2013, 9:01 pm
This is ridiculous. The pharmaceutical industry has and has had way too much influence in this country for too many years. I will write my congresspersons and I hope many others do as well. This issue needs to be brought into the spotlight.

Esther Z (94)
Monday April 29, 2013, 9:10 pm
A good documentary most of us should watch is SICKO by Michael Moore. It's not only an eye opener on the failure of the American health-care system, but also on how Big Pharma robs the American consumer blind, while selling the same drugs to other countries, for pennies on the dollar. There was a case of a First Responder who was paying 120 dollars for a prescription inhaler needed due to her 9/11 injury. The First Responder was able to get the same medication for ONLY 5 cents while being treated at a Cuban hospital (watch the documentary to see how she ended up in Cuba.) Yes, 5 cents! It's reprehensible that a person who served her country to the point of contracting a chronic disease must still pay, with blood, sweat and tears, for a medication that can give her quality of life some semblance of normalcy. It's reprehensible!

Karen Marion (30)
Monday April 29, 2013, 9:43 pm
thanks for this info....

Constance F (418)
Monday April 29, 2013, 11:22 pm
Thank you for posting. Another major pet peeve of mine. The filthy unethical pharmaceutical industry. And cancer is a billion dollar industry, and not in the business of assuring you have all information and alternatives available. Check out the independent cancer research society. Anyway, I have asthma and have been buying my prescription from Canada for a near 1/4 of the cost. Here is the link Kit. Maybe you can get your eye drops for a better cost. If they don't have it in Canada, they contract with other countries. My prescriptions actually come from the UK. or 1-800-Can-drug. I know this doesn't exactly address the article, but I have given up - I have given up on the US. I had worked for near 20 years trying to get people to wake up to our health for profit system and change things to such little interest. Now all I really care about is other species. Hopefully though - you'll get a better deal on your eye drops !

Rose B (141)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 12:30 am

Craig Pittman (52)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 3:33 am
For profit health care only profits the ones hauling in the huge profits at the expense of the consumer. More and more we are seeing, across the board, that the so-called private sector is by definition focussed on profits to the point where the ethics and morality fall from the radar.
Perhaps there is a line, a point, where enough people will find Big Pharma so intolerable that they will adovocate for change in a way that the government will be motivated to make changes.
Thanks for this Kit.

Ben O (153)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 4:01 am
Well, Big Pharma is killing not only Americans...

Kit B (276)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 12:01 pm

You are probably correct, Ben. Though Americans do get to pay exorbitant prices for their drugs, other countries negotiate the prices.

Thanks Constance, I will check into that.

marie C (163)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 1:11 pm
This is horrific for Americans
We are so spoilt in UK Its about $12 per item but for lowly paid or unemployed everything is free It does not matter how expensive the drug it is the same for everyone
So many people complain.
Opticians dentists everything is subsidised we are so fortunate
As I have stated before USA has the largest economy in the world shame on them for their health system

Robert O (12)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 1:34 pm
Big pharma only cares about itself (like any other big industry) and its bottom line, not the countless people it's killing one pill at a time. Thanks Kit.

lee e (114)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 1:39 pm
NY has provided a great care package for me - (maybe I am more poor than others and find myself in a position that NYS will assist (for who knows how long - especially with sequester) - right now I can thank my lucky stars that I'm assisted in getting my meds - although with medicare and a rather expensive AARP insurance - even if I skip a few meals - I'm fairly well covered

Jaime Alves (52)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 2:11 pm
Noted, thanks.

Elaine Al Meqdad (283)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 3:34 pm

Kristine H (75)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 3:44 pm

Lynn D (0)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 3:55 pm
Thanks for info and it's true in a lot of what they do for almost any chronic disease.!!!

Betty Kelly (4)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 4:04 pm
Big businesses get big by climbing on others. U know Big Bank, Oil--ect. I take as little medicine as possible.

Angelika R (143)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 4:38 pm
As for Kit's eye drops, -we discussed that matter earlier in another post- I am also curious as to what type and brand exactly that is. Wonder if we have them here and how much they would cost. We often have different prices at different pharmacies even for prescriptions and every non-prescription people usually buy online where they are much cheaper.

Angelika R (143)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 4:42 pm
I see that my previous comment disappeared- wanted to know for what exactly those prices in the article are, i.e. for what SIZE of pack. Not sure if you also can buy them in either N1, N2 or N3 like here? The smallest unit being of course N1, but also the most expensive one if you need repeated purchase, with the largest pack N3 you save if you need the drug regularly.

Linda M (1748)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 4:47 pm Sign the petition. Pray for a national health service. Only pathetic souls without this security.

Lin Penrose (92)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 5:30 pm
Thank you Kit. An enormous and complex business- medical care. It begins with a person with a health issue, who sees a doctor who may help. From that point, the medical potentials are exponential for all the 'leeches' & predators who lurk for prey in every nook and cranny possible. Every business have similar agenda's - survival at the cost of others - some parasitic, some not. The medical industries are full of both. The market is huge, very tempting and growing! There are so Many of us with health problems or questions.

I really dislike having to pay a monthly drug fee to a company (Walmart) I do not admire, because it is attached to the supplemental health care company I belong too. Really frosts my behind!

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 5:37 pm
Thank you for the sad news. How many people die every year as a result of big pharma's greed?I wonder if the answer to this would be to open medicare to the public. Isn't Medicare able to negotiate for lower prices? (N, P, T)

Theodore Shayne (56)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 5:43 pm
It is very Hegelian isn't it? You create the illnesses through the products you sell to the customer; or through the harvesting of resources such as gold mining or fracking and then you create the solution in order to give the appearance of curing the problem. It's a win win situation for the Big Five and their subsidiaries.
I call it premeditated murder.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday April 30, 2013, 11:56 pm
Noted. Thanks.

Gloria picchetti (304)
Wednesday May 1, 2013, 5:58 am
You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last day.

Elizabeth Fuller (134)
Wednesday May 1, 2013, 6:44 am
Great article Kit, thanks....phama companies also know that a lot of their drugs cause side effects...which in turn brings them money for the drugs to ease those side effects. They use their profits to sway the FDA to OK a lot of their drugs that are not properly tested or tested and shown to cause fatal consequences, and then settle out of court costs when sued. They also buy orientation packages for doctors so they can wine and dine them at resorts with slide show presentations about their drugs and the so called benefits to prescribing them and then doctors feel obligated to use them in their practices. Why do drugs marketed warn of complications in their ads when using them may cause's like giving the public a for something that might kill you or die...there are too many new drugs and new ones being made that it makes ones head spin and not even the docs can keep up...until the drug finally gets pulled from the market. I was prescribed Celebrex here in Canada, which was covered under my plan but then was told it causes heart problems and was taken off it but it is still being prescribed and marketed on tv and people are paying for it nonetheless.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday May 1, 2013, 7:26 am

Thank you, Mrs M - petition signed.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday May 1, 2013, 7:32 am

The prescription I use is Latanprost, eye drops. It was not offered on the Canadian Prescription site. Most prices for prescriptions are calculated at a price per pill or at the average monthly cost for 30 pills.

Thank you all for these very astute comments.

As for health care (ACA) beginning on time, I'm not counting on that, the sequester will do what the Republican Congress could not do, it will not repeal it, just slow down the needed services.

Angelika R (143)
Wednesday May 1, 2013, 10:30 am
Forgot to mention that the link Mrs M left is great and has lots of actions on there, I also signed one petition, thx!

Kit, you mean LatanOprost I assume. It's sold here in bottles 0,1 oz (2,5ml).
average price for 1 bottle - €22
" " 3x 2,5 ml - €45
" " 6x 2,5ml - €81 - they ARE expensive indeed. Prices vary about +/- €3-5 for different manufacturers. They are all containing 50 micrograms /ml - you would have to figure out conversion on your own.

Vallee R (280)
Wednesday May 1, 2013, 11:05 am
And now half of those meds kill anyway - so we are damned if we do and damned if we don't - and they get you hooked on them under insurance and then says gues what - tour insurance is up - my partner is on over 20 meds daily.

Birgit W (160)
Wednesday May 1, 2013, 1:16 pm
Our pharmacy is telling us all kind of lies just so they will get our money.

Debra Van Way (12)
Wednesday May 1, 2013, 2:33 pm
For me-the medicine cabinet has vicks vapour rub, asprin, bandaids and Ben-gay-if they don't fix the problem-tough oats. When I look at the medicine my Mom is on (which does little to any good) I cringe at the side affects.

Carlene V (202)
Wednesday May 1, 2013, 2:49 pm
Thanks Kit, Medicare Part E - I love it! For everyone as is should be. I don't think it will happen until Big Pharma and their lobbyists get out of the pocket books of polilticans running for another term. Medicare Part D didn't work so well as it was written by Big Pharma and they implemented the Donut Hole which most people on drugs for an extended time fell into. Big corporations need to get out of politics period.

Our little dog Spencer was on Levothyroxin for his thyroid and we purchased it from Canada at 1/3 the cost we were paying here. You have to have a wonderful vet like we do who is willing to write the Rx though.

Sherri G (128)
Wednesday May 1, 2013, 3:20 pm
Thank You Kit for this article. When I had Acute Myeloid Leukemia in 1978 I was working and never had to worry about cost of medication or my many hospital stays. Imagine that all I had to do is survive the cancer with a very very low probability for success. However I did have to sue my fortune 500 employer because he tried to terminate me for having it. My idiot boss thought he could catch it from me. Now I don't know if someone in my shoes back then would be fired (or laid off??) just to keep the employers insurance costs down. Then who knows how they would get care. I won my lawsuit after 9 years and the company Watkins Johnson in Palo Alto went out of business about 15 years after I left. Thanks Kit the prescription problem is one we don't have to endure but we do need to scream and fight like crazy. Barack could simply do a signing statement to mandate all medicare drugs be negotiated. Then we need to put everyone on medicare. The fight against the chain CPI social security cut hasn't succeeded but the petitions for Guantanamo hunger strikes has his attention and he is back talking about that. I get request at least 6 times a day from the Democratic party for money and I reply, "NO MONEY, NO VOTES, UNTIL CHAIN CPI IS VOTED DOWN".

Charlene Rush (79)
Wednesday May 1, 2013, 4:19 pm
You want to talk about a Big Business industry that has no MORALS?

Shirley B (5)
Wednesday May 1, 2013, 6:45 pm
Ty for posting Ki.

@ Mrs. M. we both signed that petition. It can be downloaded and posted here but I don't know how to do that. Perhaps Kit or Angelica can. They have some worthwhile actions at that site.

Sheryl G (360)
Wednesday May 1, 2013, 7:04 pm
We must have Universal Health Care.

When my late husband was first seen at the hospital he was going to have his cancer treatments in, as part of the packet they gave us was how to hold fundraisers to help with the treatments. When a family member is sick, the family is in distress, when their world is thrown upside down from a severe cancer, running around and begging people for money is the last thing they feel like doing.

Calling radio stations, TV stations, trying to promote, find a place to hold a fundraiser, asking people to donate their time, their talents, trying to figure this all out while bringing your loved one to hospital, holding their hand as they sit in these treatments, cleaning up behind them as they were too sick to reach the bathroom in time, if one has children still trying to keep up with the homework, clean the house, prepare meals, fight personal fear and exhaustion........

yes, holding a major fundraiser to save your loved one you will certainly try to do, but it's an fn shame that this Country puts families through this. In the bit of spare time they have they should be able to get some rest, read a book to their loved one who is sick, enjoy a sunset together, not worrying over how to pay the hospital and Doctors and fending off bill collectors. When it all done, the house is sold, savings depleted, the kids no longer have a college fund, one is left in an empty apartment with a few memories to find comfort in.

That is our Health Care system in USA. It is neither Healthy nor Caring.

DaleLovesOttawa O (198)
Wednesday May 1, 2013, 8:55 pm
Quite shocking, big pharma reminds me of loan sharks, demanding ridiculously high profits, taking away the life blood of many who are unable to afford the high prices. Some Americans living in border towns go to Canada for the cheaper prescriptions. Sad to see that profit is always before people and how prices in some countries are far lower as legislation is in place to prevent highway robbery.

. (1)
Thursday May 2, 2013, 12:56 am
I suspect that the powers that be would argue that big pharma employs lost of people, pays big taxes so we won't regulate them. WE NEED THE MONEY!

Kerrie G (116)
Thursday May 2, 2013, 4:02 am
You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last day.
Noted, thanks.

Arielle S (313)
Thursday May 2, 2013, 7:14 am
If drug companies stopped advertising on TV and in magazines, they could probably afford to GIVE everyone the drugs they need.

Kit B (276)
Thursday May 2, 2013, 7:25 am

Truly remarkable comments here. It is amazingly to me that the Medical/Pharmaceutical complex has not suffered a revolution from the people so harmed by their sleazy practices.

Barbara V (51)
Thursday May 2, 2013, 11:32 am
Here's an illustration of that very thing. A friend of mine was in line to get a prescription filled. The lady in front of her went to pay for her prescription only to find out that they had doubled or tripled that medication, which the lady depended on TO STAY ALIVE! She could not afford to pay out that much money. My friend said that the lady began to cry and had no choice but to leave. Big pharma should be hanged by the gonads for a despicable act like that.

Sheryl G (360)
Thursday May 2, 2013, 12:12 pm
I worked back in the 80's for the Medicaid program, and there were rules and guidelines I had to follow. Too many times people fell through the cracks even though we were able to help many, too many people couldn't be helped. Good people, people of all ages.

I started to make it a mission to write to my Representatives that this system was flawed in so many ways, I felt as Americans we could do better, and I thought that if they would only think about it that this issue would be fixed. I hadn't at the time realized that money controls how we live or do not live, not what is correct for a society.

The final situation that brought the hammer down to me and I actually had to transfer out of that Department and go into another part of the Human Service end of things was when an Elderly woman came in to review her case. The guidelines hadn't been raised in a long time but she was getting the COLA which really doesn't fully keep up with cost of living, which I've left pieces on C2 as to the fact this COLA is only matched against certain items not all that is costing to people.

During this review, her income had gone over the allowable limits which meant she had to now pay for some of her medical care that we use to pick up. The tears came to her eyes, she said, my dear, I just do not have that money, where do I cut back, you have my income and my expenses can you tell me where I can cut out something. Was true, her rent, untilities, food, took all of her income, there was nothing left and she hadn't a family member or anyone in her life, she was alone. It broke my heart, my hands tied to the rules, and even if I passed it through approved my work was always gone over by my Supervisor and spot checked by Quality Control.

She said dear, if I can't have this I can't get my heart medication and I will die. The tears in her eyes, the tears in my eyes, the low peg in this clog, all I could say was I'm so sorry. A few weeks later I got a bill from the local hospital asking if we'd pay for the bill of this woman who ended up going into cardiac arrest and died. Just as she said she would.

Every time I fight for Universal Health Care this lovely Elderly woman's face is in front of me. I promised her I would never ever stop trying to get Universal Health as long as I lived and I haven't. So Barbara, these things are very real to people, people are dying and have been dying for a long time in this Country. The Propaganda and the Big Profit Health Industry has done a good job at convincing Americans that the system we have is a good one, and every time there is a major push to do better too many people run scared and believe that if we change this, it will be worse.

Well I don't know what can be worse than this system.......I've seen all the heartache from it that I can stand.

Lois Jordan (63)
Thursday May 2, 2013, 3:41 pm
As always, great info, Kit...thank you. Meanwhile, each member of Congress is blessed with such a great health plan!...which continues even after they leave Congress. So, why should they care about their constituents...esp. when they take Big Pharma campaign money?
I'm all for "Medicare E=Everyone" and have signed many petitions and sent so many letters for so many years now to my members of Congress & POTUS, imploring them to enact a "single payer plan." Oh, there was so much backpatting amongst Congress critters when the Healthcare Insurance Reform bill passed...but I noted that the devil was in the title itself: "insurance reform" doesn't help patients. The U.S. pulled a fast one many years ago when "for profit healthcare" was applauded and expanded. Just cold-blooded!

marie C (163)
Friday May 3, 2013, 2:52 am
Its hard to imagine you can die just because you can not afford a pill
Its the same as third world

Sheryl G (360)
Friday May 3, 2013, 4:49 am
That is correct Marie tc, but for so many Americans they still think that what they are still able to do everyone else can also. It's not that way, there are those who have wealth beyond measure, there are those who are making it still, but there are more and more who are dropping into this area of not making it and no way out of it. It is a state of pure survival and once a medical issue comes along that can be the end of the line, even if a pill is offered, it is out of their reach.

Kit B (276)
Friday May 3, 2013, 6:25 am

Now that ACA is the law of the land, we are faced with a new challenge. Many that fit the description of the above lady offered by Dandelion, will not have the money to afford insurance, but by law they must. With no form of a Public Option in place, and no chance that Congress will do anything to offer relief to the American public, I am very concerned about what comes next. The insurance companies are rapidly raising rates, while deleting services, this is going to be a very rocky road.

Arielle S (313)
Friday May 3, 2013, 7:50 am
And the GOP will use every bit they can to work against Obamacare.... Saw last night where suicide by seniors is rapidly on the rise - one wonders first, how much the economy is affecting that and second, how much the side effects of drugs many seniors take is affecting that. If one more person tells me we have the best health care system in the world, I may just rip their arms off and beat them to death.....

Sheryl G (360)
Friday May 3, 2013, 9:21 am
Propaganda and one line sound bites convince many people of many things. We as Americans tend to hold in what our troubles are so we fail to realize that our situation isn't unique. I'm glad for places like C2 that opens issues to the light of day.

Someone cold and hungry just because they are quiet about it doesn't mean they've not felt the pain of these things. I think it is part of the reason that people don't get together and stand up to these things, we are told if our life isn't going well it is a personal failure, that we didn't somehow grab onto that golden ring, and then one has the Leadership calling those who are in struggle, lazy, drug addicts, crazy, sucking off the tits of society, it is hard for people to expose themselves, even though the playing field has been titled in favor or some and against others.

When I worked for the system, I recall how many people felt embarrassed that they had to be there to ask for help, other felt shame, some were depressed for they felt they were failures. Unlike the stories you read how everyone is so happy to be taking something from the system, like it is something people want to run right out to do. There are always those few cases of people abusing the system, but I've found from dealing with the ones who were in need, it was just the opposite.

I see little old men taking off their hat, calling me ma'am, apologizing for taking my time, not even wanting to sit in the seat I provided. How they felt they had to explain that they worked hard all their life, but with a bad back crippled hands from age the little income they had was not keeping up with shelter and food expenses. How I use to make each person relax, inform them that is why I was there, to see what we could do to help their life to be a bit better, that as a Senior our society should make sure of that due to their years of hard work. For a young person I'd explain that it's a temporary set back, they'll get a little help and be back on their feet and this too shall pass. I felt it was my job to take a broken spirit and at least shine some light upon it while I could see if there was something within the guidelines I could do for them. When that failed, I use to have my back ups, of Food Pantry's, the organizations that would help, but one tired to do something for them.

One man cried when he found out he didn't qualify for Medicaid, he said all I want is glasses so I can see to fill out job applications, so I can see to do a job I might obtain, but without my sight, I'm having a hard time in all of this. This is the act of listening and my role as a Social Worker that I use to be able to pull out the reason of things. With that knowledge I sent him to the Lyons Club and they gave him the needed glasses, he came back to show them to me, a big smile on his face and the applications he had filled out for work, now he could see.

At the end, due to cutbacks, due to staff shortages, I was told by my boss that I had to stop "finding" out the problem and just tell them they are eligible or not. If not, I didn't have time to offer additional information beyond what we did. I wasn't to tell the homeless Veterans that a barber would give them free hair cuts and shaves if I sent them, I couldn't tell the women if they needed a nice outfit for a job interview that I knew a woman in whose basement she had racks of dresses of all sizes, shoes, even cosmetic jewelry for that woman to look her best for that interview. I wasn't to pass out any more teddy bears to children whose homes just burned to the ground or who simply had no toys as no one could afford to give one.

No, I was only to be a clog in the wheel, do not feel compassion, don't offer a bit of kindness or offer a tissue and a kind word as they cried about the child they just lost or the husband who had died. Next, next, next, was all was needed of me anymore I was told by the ones over me, we will work smarter with less. I was told stop being a Social Worker. As society has cut back on our jobs and had us stop being Social Workers this too has impacted upon society in negative ways, we all were on the front lines, they took us off of those lines. Just like the teachers today being made the scapegoat for societies failure and tying their hands so tight they can't be teachers any longer. I finally left, I couldn't stand looking at those faces only to, in a cold deadpan voice, I got out of the field after over 20 years of service, and I wasn't the only one, they lost us with our expertise, our compassion, they forced us out, one by one. Believe me, we struggled against the tide and fought not to have the compassion lost, but in the end, it was stay and do it this way or go. Be heartless or go.

Our society has been growing more cold and heartless by the year, while the propaganda machine has done a job of making people believe one thing while the reality was something else. This is Corporate think, humane anything is not in the equation. It has seeped into every aspect of society, and it will take a lot of people to dig into their Hearts to pull back into society the spirit that makes life worth living. Material gain and profit at all cost is souless, heartless, it is the land of the already dead. We see the destruction playing out all around us from the rape of our environment to the humans doing more mass murders. It's society in decline, in pain, hurting.

The big concern in Washington, that their air travel wasn't slowed down for them to get home. Heck with the cancer patients.

To the kind hearted and compassionate individuals I have met on C2, keep that light burning. Be the Lighthouse!

Arielle S (313)
Friday May 3, 2013, 9:40 am
I don't know how you managed to do all you did, Dandelion - but bless your heart for caring and for helping those you could. Our cold and heartless society hardly knows what to do with someone like you - If I could, I'd simply clone you.....

Terrie Williams (798)
Friday May 3, 2013, 10:21 am
Thank you for signing our petition for Improved Medicare for all!
Signed, noted.
I truly believe the Pharmacorps are trying to get rid of as many of us as they can. Most of their drugs are poisons and if you cannot afford them they let you die without any thing at all. I would rather take natural meds than Pharmameds any day and I do! I am still frikken HERE!!!!

marie C (163)
Friday May 3, 2013, 11:24 am
When I read these comments I get very angry with people in the UK
The latest complaint is they have to travel too far for all the free treatment and medicine they need as they are amalgamating hospitals together to be able to treat more people.Health system in USA is horrifying.
You are some great lady Dandelion

Sheryl G (360)
Friday May 3, 2013, 2:27 pm
Thank you ladies, I appreciate that, but believe me, it was rewarding back. For the time I was able to do the job I was originally hired to do, Social Worker, it was a joy to get up every morning and go to work. That each day was an opportunity to give some encouragement to someone, put a smile on a childs face when I handed the little Teddy Bear over, to hold the persons hand while they shared their pain, to offer them a hug and a bit of relief, even if it was a voucher for some food. It felt good to turn the broken hearted around and give them a bit of hope.

That is all millions of people are asking for, is to have opportunity to take care of themselves, to earn a living wage, to have a clean, safe, and humble roof over their heads, to make sure their children have enough food in their stomachs each day, and for all of us in this United States to be able to have medical care when they need it. Medical care shouldn't be a luxury item, my goodness, what is wrong with this Country that has so much wealth in the hands of a few that people must get up each day in pain, sick, or die even because they have no medical insurance, don't meet the requirements to get help, yet by the time they pay for the shelter costs and food there is nothing else left.

How do so many people go to sleep each night knowing so many of their fellow citizens are hungry, cold, and without medical attention. I went with my daughter to her friends funeral last year, a young man she went to school with, like her he was 26 years old. I use to recall him coming to our house, they would play horse shoes out in the yard, throw some balls through the basket ball hoop, but he couldn't find a job so he had no medical care for a chronic condition. He was found dead on his friends sofa, the place he was taken in to at least have a place to sleep. People die all the time, young and old in this Country simply due to lack of medical attention. The so called "safety net" has larger and larger holes each year. Even in better days, there were still too many people in this Country that slipped through.

Kit B (276)
Friday May 3, 2013, 5:11 pm

Thank you, Sheryl for your many selfless acts toward others, for giving so freely of yourself. This is sadly true, that far too many are still slipping through and being lost in a system that feels for no one, has no compassion is just a system, geared to get a job done. Systems have no memories and no feelings, that as fellow humans is our task.

Klaus Peters (14)
Monday May 13, 2013, 2:22 am
Looks like US citizens are getting ripped off badly by their pharmaceutical companies, greed at its worst.
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