The mainstream media is lax in covering writings and actions in the market-based policy community on health reform, but a lot of important work is being done by our colleagues in the Health Policy Consensus Group and elsewhere that deserves attention. Here are examples, exposing the failures of government-centric policies and the importance of patient-centered reform ideas.
Brian Blase of the Paragon Health Institute writes for Health Affairs about “The Need to Change Direction in Health Policy.” He highlights findings from a recent Congressional Budget Office report about rising health spending and concludes “policy makers need to recognize that nearly 99 percent of Americans either have coverage or access to subsidized coverage. The key focus for policy makers must now be lowering costs and reforming government programs and policies that push up prices and spending.”
AEI’s Brian Miller and Anthony Mills write for National Review about the enormous failures of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during the Covid-19 pandemic and the “dramatic decline in public trust in scientific and medical expertise.” In “Why the DCD Failed Its Covid 19 Test,” they make a number of recommendations involving transparency, accountability, and public input, including creating a more open and engaged decision-making process to balance risks against sanctions.
Related, Heritage hosted a panel discussion, hosted by Bob Moffit, with Dr. Miller as one of the discussants along with Dr. Joel Zinberg and Robert Charrow, on “Holding Federal Public Health Agencies Accountable: Lessons from COVID.”
Laura Hobbs of the American Action Forum continues her work in highlighting the epic harm coming as a result of the drug price controls in the “Innovation” Reduction Act. She examines similar price control and access strategies employed in the UK and EU and warns, “U.S. policymakers should consider the trade-offs inherent in these strategies, among them reduced availability of new and innovative products and patient access to critical therapies, as well as potentially higher long-term costs.”
Related, Bill Smith and Robert Popovian presented, at a Pioneer Institute news conference last week, a valuable new, publicly accessible database they have created. It allows analysts and policymakers a detailed look, down to the zip code level, of the use and abuse of the 340B drug program, designed to supplement charity care but mostly lining the pockets of for-profit entities. Here’s the link: “First-of-Its-Kind Interactive Mapping Tool Reveals Extent of For-Profit Entities Benefitting from the 340B Drug Pricing Program.”
Sally Pipes, president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute, writes approximately a commentary a day, with the latest focusing on state legislatures and their “single payer dreams,” the futility of government price controls, and the opening of ACA enrollment season. “No amount of spin can obscure the fact that Obamacare is failing. Contrary to its name, the ‘Affordable’ Care Act is quite expensive—to enrollees and taxpayers alike. And it hasn’t done much to improve the health insurance marketplace.”
The Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, chaired by Brett Guthrie, marked up 21 legislative proposalsthis week “to improve patient access to care by addressing costs, Medicare coverage policies, and provider sustainability.” You don’t read much about this in the media, but the wheels of policymaking continue with bills designed to make care and coverage more affordable while protecting access and innovation.
I was recently a guest on a podcast hosted by Dr. Marilyn Singleton, a top anesthesiologist, lawyer, and leader in defending doctor/patient rights. Tune in for our wide-ranging discussion about the status of the health reform debate today.
And, for an encore, I wrote a review of a new book by a colleague of mine from my early career as a journalist: Lost and Found: Coming of Age in the Washington Press Corp by media analyst and ex-journalist Ellen Hume. She takes readers on a wild ride through the halls of power in Washington and to the major events she covered around the world during the golden age of American journalism. I couldn’t put the book down, and it brought back a flood of memories of stories that she and I both covered as Washington correspondents for California newspapers. Here is my review for RealClearBooks: “Making the Most of Our ‘One Wild and Precious Life.’”