Holy crap Batman, that last post was LONG.

Last post? Yowch. Sorry, but health care is a major subject with me…Short and sweet..

I want a new Camaro. It makes no sense, but it is the only car I have lusted after for a long, long time. And us running out of fuel and all. Sheesh. Gun Metal Gray, SS Auto. Fuck the v-6. If I am gonna burn fossil fuels, I need to outrun the greenies.

I need to sell some of my guitars and get one of these.

My sons’ insulin pumps came last Friday. They are very cool, very high tech, and will keep them from being poked 5-6 times a day. Rough math, my eldest son has had at LEAST 26, 280 injections since being diagnosed. Yes, you read that right. That all being said, it is kind of making me a nervous wreck to change over from the known to the unknown treatment.

The cost of Insulin

A bit of a rant…

Why is a bottle of insulin so expensive? This story explains some of it. Then at the bottom there is a link to Henry Waxman’s Access to Life Saving Medicine Act. In many countries, Insulin of various types is inexpensive based on the US standard of income. If we could go there and purchase it, it would cost us nothing…but the overseas flight.

What happens when the cost of insulin as a percentage of total income monthly is 30-45%? This happens now in many poorer countries, and price creep here in the US is setting what I see as an alarming trend towards it being a fact here as well. There are places where children diagnosed with diabetes are allowed to DIE because the family would literally starve as a  whole to keep the sick child alive.

My employer provided insurance plan (which is generally amazing and very much appreciated) offers 90 day prescriptions. Each time I fill a script for either or both of my two boys, it is wrong. I have to take everything out of the bags and count it, and compare it to the list. I feel the insurance companies OR pharmacies skim my order, but I digress that point. Yesterday, when trying to fill a single 90 prescription for Insulin pens for my eldest son, it was refused because the prescription cost was ‘over $1500.00’. Think about that. This is 1 of 11 prescriptions I fill for my sons. Uncovered, it is $500 per month. He takes two types of Insulin, and I would have 10 more scripts to fill EVERY month. I earn a decent salary, but if these meds were out of pocket, we would be living in a van down by the river, or I would be robbing pharmacies to get meds for my kids.

Our health care system right now serves only Big Pharma, and Big Insurance. They have the game so locked up that the prices are high enough for them to make a set margin no matter what the coverage. With a single payer, non-profit system and legislation that forces patent busting in these specialized cases( allowing generics to be produced and distributed cheaply), everyone with diabetes OR other daily, chronic illness that REQUIRES meds to keep them alive would be within reach of anyone with any full time job. When all this bullshit about those opposed to national health care hits CNN in the next news cycle, think about what you would do with no insurance and a child who needed $1000 worth of meds a month. Now think about the meds being $50-75 due to generics. Better?

If you think you get pissed about gas being $4.00 a gallon, think about having to choose between $4.00 gas and keeping your children alive with insulin at $500 per month. Now think about not being able to afford gas, so you can’t go to work. Now, you lose your job, and have to carry the full cost of scripts. A mess.

Life saving medicine needs to be cheap and plentiful, and this needs to happen ASAP.

The $100 Insulin Pump

We have had the $100 laptop.

Cell phones are damn near free and contain INCREDIBLE levels of electronics and tech.

Why can I not get an insulin pump for my 2 diabetic boys for $100? I am not believing the technology is not there to support that price point. A week ago, I watched a ton of TED conferences, and since I can’t speak at TED ( yet), my dream idea for the world right now is the $100 insulin pump.

8% of ALL Americans are Diabetic, either Type 1 or Type 2. There are dramatic differences in the two main types (there are subtypes of each), but the main thing is, Type 1 is an autoimmune disease, Type 2 is typically a lifestyle disease ( overweight, diet, etc). the risks for each health wise, and the costs of dealing with it are similar.

An Insulin Pump is in effect a robotic pancreas. The user has to learn to calibrate it to his or her metabolism and diet, but a pump is THE most effective way to keep diabetes under control for most sufferers, which in turn lowers their short and long term health risks and costs. Insulin Pumps currently cost between $3500 to roughly $8000, and few insurers will cover this cost. They are not only expensive to purchase, but they are expensive to replace.They seem rather delicate given our ability to make phones that can survive hammer impacts and immersion in water. Unless I am missing something, an insulin pump is nothing more than a fluid delivery systems with a digital control interface on it, and a flow that is calibrated by the interface.  If this were a Nintendo Controller, there would be 20 knockoffs at Target for $29.99. Is the cost liability? Patents? I do not care. I want a $100 insulin pump. And, just in case you are a smart ass, I want one that EXCEEDS the capabilities of the current top models, is weather proof, shock proof, and generally ruggedized, with a USB interface on it. If you know some one who can build one, send them this post.