For people who were blown away to learn recently that the 11 largest global pharmaceutical companies made an astonishing $711 billion in profits over the last decade, here's another measure of the industry's greed.
Republicans on Capitol Hill have dug themselves into a deep and narrow chasm whose walls are about to close in. In a matter of weeks, they may find themselves squeezed mercilessly between their implacable right wing and constituents feeling the pain of sequestration.
In a sharp rebuke of a New York Times investigation, an analysis by the nonpartisan CBO found that a last-minute provision added to the early January "fiscal cliff" bill could save taxpayers as much as $4 billion -- rather than costing $500 million, as the Times had claimed.
The president opened last week's State of the Union address calling for "modest" changes to contain Medicare costs. Yet, there is little consensus among lawmakers on what to do about Medicare. As this discussion unfolds, Congress must remember three key Medicare facts.
If you watched the SOTU, you might have missed the scheme that Obama unveiled that will ruin the Medicare prescription drug program, destroy pharmaceutical companies' incentive to develop new life-saving medicines and even imperil our country's economic growth. I know I missed it.
Medicare remains an overwhelmingly popular benefit, and American families are supportive of preserving it. But some policymakers propose pushing middle- and high-income Medicare beneficiaries down a slippery slope by further increasing premiums based on their incomes.
As they grapple with a balanced strategy for addressing the deficit, members of Congress would be wise to think twice about altering one government program that is saving money and is widely popular among those it serves.
Because all Medicare Part D prescription drug plans can change their costs and coverage each calendar year, comparing plans every year during the open enrollment period (which is Oct. 15 - Dec. 7) is still the best way to ensure you don't miss out on your best deal for 2013.
We need Congress to take immediate action in support of the common sense, win-win idea of closing the gap in Medicare coverage for treatments that lower costs by bringing patients home. The longer we wait, the longer American taxpayers will be paying the hospital bill.
If you're enrolled in Medicare, mark these dates on your calendar: October 15-December 7, 2011. That's Medicare's 2012 Open Enrollment period -- and you should note that it occurs a month earlier this year than in the past.
Job-based healthcare plans now cost a whopping $15,000 per year for a family, with workers picking up $4,129 of that amount, meaning that workers' share of healthcare costs has risen a stunning 131% in 10 years.
The way Democrats deal with Bush's Medicare prescription drug benefit will determine whether they can retain their credibility as the Party of Medicare or surrender the program's future to its historical antagonists in the Republican Party.