Democrats in Congress are working furiously to rewrite their partisan spending bill that would transform America into a European social welfare state, without a single hearing or virtually any input from more than 330 million Americans who would be impacted.
The bill is so massive and complex that targeting any one part seems like throwing a dart at a dinosaur, but there is one part that demands attention because of the huge impact it would have on your access to medical care.
You have heard Speaker Pelosi say that she wants the government to “negotiate” prescription drug prices for Medicare. The bill House would peg Medicare drug prices to government-controlled prices in other developed nations and then extend them to the entire U.S. drug market. The Senate is considering a different rationing scheme based on domestic programs.
We took a deeper dive into this provision, which the Speaker is determined to include because the drug price controls would extract about $600 billion from the pharmaceutical industry over the next 10 years to help pay for the entitlement spending blow out.
I wrote about our findings in a Washington Examiner commentary published today, “Congress Wants to Put a Price on Your Life.”
What Democrats don’t explain is that these programs mean that government, not doctors, would decide which drugs seniors could or couldn’t get. Experience in other countries proves that access would plummet as agency bureaucrats exclude some drugs and put limits on access to others, prioritizing dollars over lives. Investments in new treatments and cures would quickly dry up.
Here’s how it works in the United Kingdom, for example. The government starts by setting the monetary value of a year of perfect health at somewhere between $28,000 and $42,000. To decide whether to cover a new drug and if so, who gets it, economists estimate a treatment’s value in how many quality life years a patient would get by taking the medicine.
The mechanism is called “QALY” for Quality Adjusted Life Year. We helped organize a series of focus groups this summer to assess what Americans think of this approach.
Our research shows Americans find it chilling and even abhorrent, especially the impact on people with disabilities, those who are older, and others whose lives the government would “value” less.
- “What would we have done without Stephen Hawking?” a Pennsylvania woman asked. “When you come to disabled, he is and he’s very valuable to humankind—among others that have disabilities.”
- “It’s definitely wrong. They’re playing God, and it’s not their place to determine who gets to live and who gets to die.”
- “I don’t like this government deciding who’s going to get the drug,” a retiree in New York said. “That should be between you and your doctor.”
This is not a partisan issue. It goes against American values, people won’t stand for it, and they need to know the full story.
Read my full article at the Washington Examiner.