We believe that every person and every community deserves access to good and complete healthcare, from conception to end of life. Just as discrimination on grounds of gender, race or sexuality have been outlawed, we hold that no person or community should be discriminated against for economic reasons.
The U.S. health care system is consistently ranked as the most expensive among major industrial countries at 17.9 percent of national income. Not surprisingly some 56 million people are expected to struggle to pay for healthcare every year and almost 2 million people will file for bankruptcy after failing to pay medical bills. Yet, the U.S. comes in last on infant mortality in the "developed world", life expectancy, and deaths that were potentially preventable with timely access to effective health care are high and increasing.
At the same time, U.S. health insurance raked in $13.1 billion in profits in 2016, up 46 percent from a year earlier. Global profits for the top 10 drug companies, six of which are headquartered in the U.S., were just north of $85 billion.
One reason healthcare is so expensive in the U.S. is because companies charge astronomical prices. For example, in recent years, pharmaceutical company Turing raised the price of Daraprim, a 62-year-old generic drug, from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill, a 5,400 percent increase. Rodelis raised the price of Seromycin, used for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, from $500 for 30 capsules to $10,800, a 2,000 percent increase. Retrophin raised the price of Thiola, the preferred therapy for a rare, chronic, genetic kidney disease, from $1.50 a tablet to $30 per tablet, a 1,833 percent increase. Meanwhile the scale of problem medications is just staggering: the U.S. Food & Drug Administration reported 2,028 prescription drug recalls in 2015, almost five times as many as the 426 it recalled in 2008.
Companies often deliberately defraud the public. GlaxoSmithKline, manufacturers of antidepressant Paxil, paid out $3 billion in fines for bribing doctors to prescribe the drug to children and teenagers, even though company research showed that the drug didn't work and had the side effect of triggering suicidal thoughts. Takeda Pharmaceuticals, manufacturers of Actos, a diabetes drug, paid out $2.34 billion after evidence emerged that the company had not informed medical staff or patients about the risk of bladder cancer associated with using the drug.
We will build support for Good Health by pushing for transparent and fair pricing of insurance, medical care and medicines; and by holding powerful companies liable for dangerous and ineffective products. We will promote a single payer healthcare system that brings costs down and improves healthcare outcomes for everyone.