Author: Sally Pipes

Americans are getting squeezed by rising health care costs. The latest numbers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services show that patient out-of-pocket spending increased by 10.4% in 2021, a rate not seen for more than three decades. The cost of monthly health insurance premiums also leapt, by 6.5%. And that was all before last year’s rapid inflation squeezed household budgets. One often overlooked cause of soaring health care costs is hospital consolidation. When a single health care system becomes...

Democrats remain fixated on prescription drug prices. Last August, they managed to include price controls on drugs dispensed through Medicare in the Inflation Reduction Act. And they're not done meddling. Earlier this month, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, called on President Biden to unilaterally suspend drug patents in order "to address the crisis of unaffordable medicines." Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has named drug pricing as one of his top legislative priorities in his new role as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee....

Roughly 100 million Americans live in areas without enough primary care doctors. Nationwide, we’re short about 17,000 of them right now. By 2034, that number could jump to 48,000, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. To meet our country’s growing demand for care, we need to increase the supply of clinicians who can provide it. But that doesn’t mean just training more doctors. In fact, nurse practitioners and physician assistants could be delivering much more primary care but are...

Shopping around has never been easier. With a few clicks, consumers can easily find deals on flights, get multiple quotes on car insurance or price-match items in their local shopping mall. Yet when it comes to spending money on something really important — their health — consumers are largely in the dark. Federal rules that took effect last year were supposed to address this problem by requiring hospitals to publish the prices of 300 common services. The goal was to make health...

Government regulation is supposed to make products safer. But new research shows that, at least for medical devices, regulation can have the opposite effect. In a paper published this past November, UC San Diego economist Parker Rogers found that when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reduces regulation on a category of products, innovation and competition in that category increase, prices decrease, and safety actually improves. How could this be? Rogers hypothesized that firms “increas[e] their emphasis on product safety as deregulation exposes them to more...

On Dec. 14, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (cms.gov) released their latest estimate of the country's annual healthcare tab. For the second straight year, U.S. healthcare spending topped $4 trillion. In 2021, health spending accounted for more than 18% of U.S. GDP. Progressives tend to cite numbers like these when making their case for greater government involvement in healthcare — or even a government takeover of the health insurance system, a la Medicare for All....

The silver lining of COVID-19 has been the dawn of the telehealth era — the greatest exercise in deregulation and individual empowerment in the health sector in years. In response to the arrival of the pandemic in 2020, Congress and executive branch officials waived a number of rules governing access to medical care, including restrictions on telehealth. As a result, millions of people were able to secure care from the comfort of their homes — many for the first time. Some of...

Next month, Arizonans will consider Proposition 209, a ballot initiative intended to alleviate a supposed “crisis” in medical debt. A look at the facts reveals there is no such crisis. If this ballot initiative passes, ordinary Arizonans could face higher interest rates on all kinds of debt, have fewer lenders to choose from and pay higher prices for goods and services. The initiative has two parts. The first caps the interest rate for medical expenses at 3%. The second imposes sweeping new limits on how lenders...

A new poll from West Health and Gallup paints a grim picture of health care in the United States. Among the survey's most striking findings is that three-quarters of the country grades the cost of care at either a D or an F. Critics of our nation's market-based health system are sure to see these survey findings as evidence that the status quo is broken. But what person wouldn't want to pay less for health care — or any other good or service they desire? By...

Hospitals aren't complying with a nearly 2-year-old federal rule requiring them to publish their prices, according to new research from PatientRightsAdvocate.org. Their willingness to flout the law is understandable. They make more money when people don't know how much the medical services they consume cost. But patients and payers shouldn't stand for this intransigence. It's depriving us of information we could use to foster competition among healthcare providers — and ultimately secure better care at a lower cost....

Democrats are riding high on the public support they’ve garnered for passing legislation giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower prices from drug makers. A Politico-Morning Consult Poll found that 76% of Americans support price caps on drugs, while only 13% do not.   In other words, Democrats have effectively convinced the public that government-controlled drug prices will deliver better, more affordable care.   But that’s incorrect. The drug-price provisions within the Inflation Reduction Act will reduce the number of new drugs that...

Among the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act's most destructive provisions are the price controls it puts on prescription drugs through Medicare. These price controls are certain to have a chilling effect on pharmaceutical innovation in the years ahead. But the precise manner in which the IRA will undermine biomedical research and development — and deprive future patients of breakthrough treatments — is worth considering. The law could end up discouraging exactly the kinds of scientific inquiry — and commercial development — that patients need. First, some background. In an...

Democrats have nudged the U.S. healthcare system closer to Canadian-style socialism with their recently signed, and dubiously named, Inflation Reduction Act. The IRA will impose a collection of price caps on prescription drugs. Canada has long forcibly controlled drug prices—and thereby deprived patients of access to cutting-edge care. The story will be the same in the United States, unless a future Congress and president roll back the IRA's price controls before they take effect in 2026. Among the IRA's suite of price...

The powers that be in Washington are renewing their campaign to gain greater control over Americans’ ability to access life-saving drugs. Lawmakers and regulators alike have decided to wage war on one of the few components of our health care system that works well — the Food and Drug Administration’s accelerated approval process. This regulatory pathway has saved countless lives by speeding groundbreaking medicines to market. Obstructing that pathway would be folly. The FDA created the accelerated approval pathway in 1992 in...

The quickest way to get less of something is to regulate it. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the health sector, which suffers from a chronic shortage of physicians, particularly in primary care. And it’s about to get worse. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the United States is facing a shortfall of up to 48,000 primary care physicians by 2034, especially in rural and historically marginalized urban areas. Many states are turning a blind eye to this looming shortage...

President Joe Biden returned from vacation in South Carolina this week to sign the Inflation Reduction Act into law. The country would have been better off had he stayed at the beach. The IRA includes a combination of massive tax increases, innovation-destroying price controls, and debt-funded spending commitments. That might be music to the ears of Democrats. But for American households struggling with spiraling prices, the future has rarely looked so dim. The new spending package comes at a moment of widespread pessimism about the future of...

Progressives claim that medical debt leads to financial ruin for hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., recently argued that the high cost of health care is pushing so many people into bankruptcy that the government must cancel medical debt. It's the precursor to his call for a federal takeover of the entire health insurance system so that no one has to pay for medical care directly again. Medical bills can be onerous. But they account for a...

Some Illinois hospitals are keeping their prices secret from their patients. Only three out of a sample of 11 major medical facilities in the state are fully compliant with a federal rule requiring hospitals to publish the costs of common services, according to data from the nonprofit group PatientsRightsAdvocate.org. That includes hospitals in Chicago. Hospitals shouldn’t be able to get away with flouting the law like this. Price transparency empowers patients and payers to shop around for medical care — and ultimately...

The Democrats' budget reconciliation bill is winding its way through the Senate. Last week, Republican and Democratic senators met with the chamber's parliamentarian to discuss whether the bill's proposal for Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs with manufacturers has a direct impact on government spending or tax revenue, as reconciliation rules require. But these are not negotiations. They're price controls. The bill's text sets maximum prices that the government will pay — and threatens confiscatory taxes for drug companies that refuse to...

Late last month, the Food and Drug Administration advised COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to develop booster shots aimed at the omicron variant of the virus. Regulators hope the shots will be ready by the fall. That will probably be too late to stop BA.5, the highly transmissible subvariant that has quickly become the dominant strain in the United States. It's been roughly six months since omicron caused COVID cases to spike. Yet the FDA waited until a new, more transmissible version of the virus was threatening a wave of cases...