Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was sentenced to life plus thirty years in prison Wednesday for running an operation that trafficked an estimated $12.6 billion worth of heroin, cocaine, marijuana and synthetic fentanyl into the United States over nearly three decades. The government has also ordered him to repay that sum he's believed to have earned through his illegal business. While it's difficult to parse individual responsibility and determine exactly how much Guzman has cost the United States in law enforcement, incarceration, healthcare and other expenses, the effort to bring him to justice, and the ripple effects of his illegal activity, have been costly. U.S. government: $50 billion annually fighting drugsThe U.S. government spends roughly $50 billion per year on drug prohibition enforcement efforts, about $20 billion to $30 billion of which is used to enforce cocaine and heroin prohibition, according to Jeffery Miron, director of the department of economics at Harvard … [Read more...] about Chasing El Chapo cost U.S. a fortune. Was it money well spent?
How much does healthcare cost
Whether you’re buying your own healthcare insurance for the first time or switching plans after a big life change, you probably have tons of questions. That’s okay. This stuff can be super confusing.It’s also very necessary. And taking some time to further your understanding of health insurance can have major payoffs.“Consumers can leave hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the table by getting this choice wrong,” says Amanda Starc, Ph.D., a professor who studies health economics at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.To help you get it right, we hit up the experts to address some of the most common healthcare insurance questions and provide, for once, some clear, concise answers. What is a deductible? A deductible is the amount you must pay for healthcare services before your plan actually kicks in. So, if your deductible is $1,500 (about the average deductible for a single plan offered through an employer) your plan won’t pay for … [Read more...] about What the Health? A Layman’s Guide to the Confusing World of Healthcare Insurance
This article is available to Members of The Local. Read more Membership Exclusives here.Bills and finances Often when people are looking to save, they first think about cutting down on luxuries such as meals out or clothes and accessories, but there are often savings to be made when it comes to household bills. Go through all your regular costs, and look for any payments you're making for services you don't use, or any that you don't understand, then contact the company to clarify or cancel. For example, if your home insurance includes good travel insurance, you don't need a separate travel insurance policy. If you get your bills sent to your home, you might be charged an administrative fee (administrativ avgift) which you could cut out completely by going paperless and checking your bills online. The next step is to see if you can make any smarter choices with regular bills, such as upgrading your home insurance to include travel insurance if that is cheaper than paying … [Read more...] about Members’ guide: How to save money despite living in Sweden
The insulin market has increasingly attracted scrutiny from politicians, regulators and patient groups, as prices ramp higher for the hormone that millions of diabetics depend on to stay alive. Food and Drug Administration head Scott Gottlieb has advocated for greater competition in the pharmaceutical industry as a means of bringing down drug costs. But, for insulin, changing legal rules have effectively created a "regulatory dead zone," hindering generic drugmakers filing applications for copycat versions of the biologic drug. That's because when Congress established a path to regulatory approval for biosimilars in 2010, lawmakers created a gray area for manufacturers seeking OKs for insulin copies prior to March 2020. With that transition date approaching, drugmakers run the risk of being caught between two legal frameworks governing approval of copycat insulin products. The FDA hasn't solved the problem, saying it's restricted by law from converting pending applications under the … [Read more...] about How a ‘regulatory dead zone’ may be holding up copycat insulin
Hospitals will be required to post the cost of their standard services online, starting Jan. 1, 2019.Patients will be able to compare prices before seeking treatment. However, some consumer advocates say while the information is beneficial, it's not completely transparent due to insurance price adjustments and other factors.Hospitals are required to disclose prices publicly, but the latest change would put that information online in machine-readable format that can be easily processed by computers. It may still prove to be confusing to consumers, since standard rates are like list prices and don't reflect what insurers and government programs pay.Patients concerned about their potential out-of-pocket costs from a hospitalization would still be advised to consult with their insurer. Most insurance plans nowadays have an annual limit on how much patients must pay in copays and deductibles - although traditional Medicare does not. Likewise, many health care providers already make … [Read more...] about Hospitals to list service costs online Jan. 1 due to new federal rule