Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Current state of the GOP: expecting a pile of manure to not attract flies

Good article.

But can't ignore one fact: Trump won the nomination of his party fair and square. All Republicans can't bemoan this fact as if a bad dream. It's not as if it happened magically. It's like a crystal meth user, abusing his body for years, looks in mirror and sees horrible face, no teeth, deep wrinkles, and wonders why?

Trump's rise is not by accident. Someone like this guy should never be the popular winner of the party -- and yet he is. 

It's time for serious introspection and change for the GOP. It's not enough for "sane" Republicans to condemn him as it will only repeat. Before Trump there were the nutball Tea Party folks, leading up to Trump. Who next? David Duke? It's been a gradual devolution. 

Current (delusional) state of the GOP: expecting a pile of manure to not attract flies. 

Why the fuss now about EpiPen?

I have a serious question: why is everyone making such a fuss about the recent price hike of the EpiPen? It's not as if Mylan raised the price overnight by 500%. No, it took the company the last nine years to do that, as depicted in this chart:

In this time, inflation was just under 20% in total, FYI.

I ask: why is it when Mylan jacked up the price of EpiPen to $200 in 2012, or by 100% since 2007, nothing was said? Or when the price doubled again to $400 by 2015, the same, crickets, no blaring headlines or public outcry. But when it hit $600 this month, suddenly bedlam, outrage, and the Mylan CEO quickly becomes the face of what's wrong in this country.

The price of EpiPen went from $100 to $600, a 500% increase in nine years, and it was only the recent hike from $530 to $609 that went too far? Huh??

There's ample blame to go around for the health care cost fiasco, but I suspect some of it has been due to a combination of understandable public ignorance and the lack of a boogeyperson to target. The public ignorance of these egregious price hikes is due to a lack of media coverage. It's really only since last year, thanks to Martin Shkreli, that the media decided to focus on this long-standing problem. Shkreli instantly became the "bad boy" (to quote George in a Seinfeld episode), easily embodying a sinister poster boy for all that was wrong with this practice and the health care industry in general.

No, I don't blame the public for the delayed outrage but rather the media, which was asleep at the wheel and needed a John-McEnroe-of-pharma figure to finally kindle their interest.

And now they have Mylan CEO Heather Bresch to demonize.

Yet recall the Enron scandal, truly a despicable episode in corporate America history, but it really only kicked into a new gear when the media attached faces to it, namely Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling, i.e. boogeymen. The fact is Enron was outrageous and scornful enough in and of itself, which should not have required "evil" humans as proverbial pinatas to incite our condemnation.

I'm afraid that's what has occurred here. These exorbitant price increases have been taking place for many years, contributing to runaway health care costs, but there's been little to no public outcry, and no politicians promising to look into it further. Until the media finally found a convenient scapegoat in Shkreli.

It's really a sad statement all around, about much more than just price gouging.