Heinz Dilemma Essay

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A man’s wife is dying of cancer and there is one medicine that can save her. This drug rare as it is only made by one chemist, and as a result, the price is exorbitant, ten times the actual cost of production. The man cannot afford to pay it and must either forgo the chance to save his wife’s life, or undertake desperate measures. Now, this scenario could be viewed as Heinz Dilemma, a story often told in order to gauge the levels of moral reasoning, but unfortunately, it could also serve as an example of what the United States’ healthcare system has become. Prescription drug prices have been rapidly rising, so much so that they may not reasonably be attainable for the typical citizen. Just in the year of 2014 to 2015, the total amount spent …show more content…
First and foremost, it hinders economic freedoms. This is partly because the ideal of supply and demand does not apply as the ill is not the typical consumer. A separation of purchasing power exists that undermines competition necessary for a market to properly function. The consumers have an obligation to purchase the product their doctor prescribes, whatever the costs may be. And since money is finite, the result is they will then have less to spend on goods or services they might have actually desired to purchase. For example, they not be able to afford to stay at their current residence, lack the capability to pay down their student debt, or just be in a strained financial position for day to day purchases. This is an infringement on their economic freedoms as essentially the ill is trapped into a significant monetary commitment they might not have been willing to make. To not obtain the medications would have adverse consequences for one’s health and could even be life threatening. Unfortunately, that is what some are driven to do such as so with Jacqueline Racener. She was prescribed a promising medicine to fight her cancer; the only problem was the cost, $8,000. Racener stated, “It was just prohibitive,” and chose not to fulfill her prescription rather than incur loans to pay for medicine. This was also the choice made by a quarter of people and their family in a …show more content…
If individuals are not able to reach their greatest potential, they will not be able to contribute to society to their greatest degree. But also, there are more concrete ways society is harmed. Due to health insurance, people do not have to bear the costs of treatment completely on their own. Instead, the expenses are mitigated by being spread out among policy members. The problem is then the higher cost of prescription medications is then transformed into higher premiums for everyone with the insurance. Higher deductibles often result as well. Health insurance, while partly privatized, is not entirely so with government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Health Association, state prisons, and federal employee providing coverage as well. The rise of prescription drug prices is greatly felt by these entities. Medicare serves as the best illustration given 29% of the country’s prescription drug expenses are handled through the program with 90% of seniors require such medication. When more must be spent on the medications, there are less funds available than originally budgeted. Thus more money must be added to the program through tax increases or deficit spending. Or, the services must be reduced and coverage denied to many in need. With either course taken, society is

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