RCA student activists gathered this summer to discuss how to unearth data about hospital prices and medical debt in zip codes across the country. When we know how to find and expose the numbers that hospitals and insurance companies don’t want us to see, we can begin to collectively fight back.
In Florida and across the country, we can build a movement for a universal, democratically controlled health care system that serves the interests of all of us, not the interests of corporations.
You can watch the full Florida event on our Facebook page.
In April, Right Care Alliance activists in Florida gathered for an evening of anger and solidarity. Patients and clinicians shared stories about how they’ve been harmed by profiteering insurance companies and hospitals. The event ended with a symbolic grilling of unjust medical bills.
Thanks for all who joined our game of Price is Right Healthcare Edition. If you missed the event, watch the game hosted online on April 12th 2023. Congrats to the finalists and all of our players!
The Right Care Alliance, a grassroots coalition of clinicians, patients, and community members who organized actions throughout 2018 and 2019 for the reduction of insulin prices in the United States have found the March 1 announcement by Eli Lilly a positive step but one that is too little too late. This victory comes from years of pressure from grassroots organizers led by people with diabetes, their loved ones, and their clinicians. But this is far from the real change we desperately need.
Pricing drops like these highlight a harsh reality of the US healthcare industry. Medical prices in the U.S. are arbitrary. Yes, we are glad they dropped their insulin to $35 out of pocket. But there is no reason they could not have done this five or even ten years ago. Since modern insulin formulations were developed in the 1990s, prices have risen significantly, despite no significant improvements in the medications themselves. Hundreds of thousands of Americans ration their insulin because they cannot afford it.
“With this news, we’ve just learned how much pain and anguish it takes to get a monopoly corporation to do the right thing….” says Dr. Vikas Saini, founder and chair of the Right Care Alliance. After years of people fighting for affordable access to insulin, it is finally here. Although, this announcement feels eerily similar to the one Eli Lilly made back in 2020. The prior price adjustment was supposed to make most of Lilly’s insulin products affordable and accessible. Nevertheless, it appears they are doing the same song and dance all over again three years later. Can people really expect to see a change in the cost of their insulin?
Deidre Waxman, who lives with Type 1 diabetes, thinks not. “These victories are proof that taking action works, but there’s more work to be done. For instance the $35 out of pocket cap on insulin on Medicare is bogus. I just paid $165 for each of my two yesterday.”
Insulin is just one of many medications that are priced too high to be accessible to all patients who need them, and exorbitant drug prices are only part of the story. Even among people lucky enough to have health insurance, Deductibles and copays are causing crushing medical debt and bankruptcy. The Right Care Alliance’s mantra “Patients over profits” has never been truer or more on target. Medical corporations shamelessly continue to pursue profits over patients. How can this continue? We need a radically better, more democratic health system in our country.
Outrageous medical bills and crushing medical debt need to stop. We oppose hospitals’ pricing and billing practices that impose ruinous financial burdens on people. We insist these sky-high prices undermine insurance coverage and are the hidden driver of the high co-pays and deductibles that create a false promise of affordability.
Drugs should be clinically proven to work before being released to the public. We opposed aducanumab (Aduhelm), a drug the FDA approved for Alzheimer’s treatment though it had insufficient evidence that this drug prevents decline of cognitive function.
No one with diabetes should die because they can’t afford their insulin. We opposed Eli Lilly, Sanofi, and Novo Nordisk and held manufacturers accountable for their outrageous price gouging that was hurting and killing so many people who could not afford insulin.
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The Right Care Alliance (RCA) is a grassroots coalition of clinicians, patients, and community members organizing to make health care institutions accountable to their communities and put patients, not profits, at the heart of health care.
Our vision is of a transformed system in which the pursuit of health is a right and health care is based on healing relationships, close to home, affordable, effective and just. We all deserve a system in which health professionals and patients alike experience the care they give and receive as necessary and meaningful.