For decades, politicians -- mostly Democrats -- have tried to reform healthcare. That has largely failed because healthcare reform has been a political issue. Once that happens, real progress becomes impossible because of the nature of American politics.
Few people, even the politicians, agree that the current system works, but little has happened to change it. Former President Barack Obama did get the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, but that only expanded access to healthcare, it did nothing to fix the underlying problems.
This has left many Americans struggling with high drug prices forced to choose between paying for the medicine they need and other necessities. That's not a problem solely for people without health insurance, high drug prices can impact people who think they have good coverage.
It's a problem that politicians have not been able to solve. Enter "Shark Tank" panelist, Dallas Mavericks owner and outspoken billionaire Mark Cuban. Despite not having a background in healthcare, Cuban has quietly provided an alternative a part of the U.S. healthcare system that decades of politicians have not been able to solve.
Mark Cuban Takes on Big Pharma, Pharmacies
Instead of trying to produce political change -- something that has gotten even harder in the current climate, Cuban used business logic to launch his Cost Plus Drug Company. Using a simple slogan, "No middlemen. No price games. Huge drug saving," the billionaire's company has a simple model: it buys large quantities of high-demand drugs and sells them to customers at a 15% markup.
"Every product we sell is priced exactly the same way, our cost plus 15%, plus the pharmacy fee, if any. When you get your medicine from Cost Plus Drug Co., you’ll always know exactly how we arrived at the price you pay. And as we grow and our costs go down, we will always pass those savings on to you," the company shared on its website.
Cuban identified a problem and applied business logic to solving it. Regular people don't have buying power or leverage when buying drugs -- they're at the mercy of drug companies and pharmacies. Cost Plus essentially creates a buying group to lower prices while the company's fixed markup takes the pharmacy as middleman piece of the equation out of the mix.
"We started Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company because every American should have access to safe, affordable medicines," Cuban wrote in a letter on the company's website. "If you don’t have insurance or have a high deductible plan, you know that even the most basic medications can cost a fortune. Many people are spending crazy amounts of money each month just to stay healthy. No American should have to suffer or worse - because they can’t afford basic prescription medications."
Twitter Loves Mark Cuban's Cost Plus Drug Co.
Cuban has solved a problem that politicians have failed to solve which impacts real people. That has made him, and his drug company, incredibly popular on Twitter. Cost Plus also regularly Tweets about how its prices compare to what people traditionally pay for drugs.
That, and other drug price moves, has met with a lot of acclaim from customers and would-be customers.