Donald Trump is serious about wresting control of our healthcare system away from the federal government and giving power back to patients, and he just showed it by naming Rep. Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services.
Price is both an ardent opponent of Obamacare and an enthusiastic advocate for a more patient-centered healthcare system.
While virtually every Republican in Congress opposes Obamacare’s one-size-fits-all approach, Price has actually proposed detailed policy alternatives that make health insurance more affordable and accessible to patients.
Price’s plan, the Empowering Patients First Act, would improve American healthcare in three important ways. First, it would eliminate Obamacare’s provisions that increase the cost of health insurance. It would abolish the ACA’s “essential health benefits” — rules that force people to buy coverage for a range of expensive services they may not need or desire. These mandatory benefits include maternity care, newborn care, as well as pediatric vision and dental care, even if someone doesn’t have children.
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Contrary to the popular belief that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) protects American consumers from dangerous drugs produced by malicious drug companies, FDA drug regulations actually benefit big pharma. And this benefit occurs by increasing the cost of prescription drugs for the poorest Americans. We can see this injustice in the recent EpiPen controversy.
The drug company Mylan recently announced that they were increasing the price of their drug known as the EpiPen by nearly 500 percent since 2007. The EpiPen is a device that allows someone suffering from potentially fatal allergy symptoms to inject epinephrine into their system, reducing the symptoms and possibly saving their life. Since the drug is widely used and so important for many people, the price increase ignited a political and media firestorm. Pundits from both sides of the aisle are outraged, saying that the company should be forced to lower the price.
But the drug company is not the only organization at fault. Like any other corporation, Mylan is in business to make money. The FDA, on the other hand, whose official vision is that “public health is advanced and protected,” goes against this mission every day.
Continue reading at RealClearHealth.
By now, even many liberals accept that Bernie Sanders’ health-care plan is deeply flawed. Kenneth Thorpe, a progressive professor retained by Vermont to help craft their single-payer plan, argues that Sanders’ plan would result in higher costs for 71 percent of working households who currently have private insurance.
But the problems with single-payer go beyond Sanders’ plan. Single-payer inherently creates substantial problems for doctors, hospitals, and patients.
A century ago, the economist Ludwig von Mises argued that the economy cannot function without real market prices. Market prices inform producers about the value of their services, enabling them to best serve consumers. If lots of consumers want laser eye surgery, high demand will lead to higher prices, which encourages other entrepreneurs to enter the market. If consumers don’t care for colonoscopies, the lower demand drives prices down and encourages entrepreneurs to stop focusing on that service.
This feedback mechanism is absent when government sets prices. The result is misallocation and chaos, as we see in Medicare.
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