Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Comments on Health Care That Go Against Stereotypes

Some interesting comments on health care that go against stereotypes....

On the Role of Large Organizations

The effect of the World War II decision [was] to make health insurance policies deductible to employers and tax-free to employees. This tended to tie health insurance to employment and has made individuals dependent on large organizations. Since third parties pick up the tab for most health-care spending, consumers tend not to be cost-conscious. The result has been above-inflation cost increases for health care.
The New Deal and the World War II years produced policies that left people dependent on large organizations. We now learn from the problems of steel pensioners or Social Security recipients, those organizations don't always deliver.

On How to Control the Costs of Pharmaceuticals

Allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices. Reinstitute a requirement that drug companies disclose all known side-effect risks in their advertisements. Eliminate the payment of 'user-fees' for FDA approval. Authorize 'parallel trading' with other developed countries. Ban one drug company from paying another 'not to manufacture'a less-expensive version of a drug. Require new brand-name drugs to be superior than current drugs . . . or no patent!
[But these policy changes] aren't happening because big drug companies have too much power and weak-kneed politicians aren't willing to stand up to them.

The first comments were written by political commentator Michael Barone in the Washington Times. The second set of comments were by local Cranston, RI Mayor and Republican Senatorial candidate Stephen P Laffey, and were noted in the Providence Journal.

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