Issues

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...

A group of 25 senators, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), requested that HHS Sec. Xavier Becerra exercise march-in rights for Xtandi (enzalutamide), a prostate cancer therapeutic. March-in rights give the government the right to take a license for itself if it helped to fund the product owner's research . . . “Net prices, which take into account discounts and rebates, have been going down for several years,” Wayne Winegarden, Ph.D., senior fellow, business and economics, Pacific Research Institute, told BioSpace. “Gross...

The U.S. Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services has issued a new joint federal rule. Another federal mandate is hardly newsworthy, but one devised under the Trump Administration and eagerly implemented by the Biden Administration is certainly unique. Beyond the politics, the Transparency in Coverage rule, while not without its shortcomings, helps to address on one of the fundamental flaws worsening the effectiveness of the nation’s healthcare system – its opacity. The lack of transparency that pervades the healthcare system...

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....

Three days before Christmas, the Institute for Clinical & Economic Review (ICER) is scheduled to publish a draft assessment of two promising treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately for the millions of Americans living with this fatal illness, it is likely that ICER will be giving lumps of coal, not gifts, this holiday season. ICER performs studies that declare how much we as patients value medicines that treat devastating diseases like Alzheimer’s. And depending upon their proclamations, patients’ access to life-altering medicines...

SACRAMENTO – The broken 340B program, designed to provide affordable care for at-risk patients, creates massive profits for providers without necessarily improving patient health outcomes and should be reformed, finds a new issue brief released today by the Center for Medical Economics and Innovation at the nonpartisan Pacific Research Institute. Click here to download a copy of the brief “The 340B program is growing unsustainably and isn’t improving health outcomes for at-risk patients,” said Dr. Wayne Winegarden, the Center’s director and the...

To the old saying about the inevitability of death and taxes, we should add another: another health crisis linked to COVID-19. As of the end of October, the CDC’s official tally of U.S. COVID infections was just under 100 million, but with many positive home test results unreported, the real number is estimated to be several times greater. Infections, while unfortunate and sometimes deadly, do provide immunity to survivors, but only for a limited time. Natural post-infection and vaccine-induced immunity wane...

By Wayne Winegarden, Robert Popovian & Peter Pitts Biosimilars, to date, have achieved the promise of reducing prices and drug spending in the United States. The unquestioned safety and efficacy of biosimilars have given providers, patients, and employers, amongst many others, the confidence that savings will be even more robust as we embark on the primary target: the launch of Humira (adalimumab) biosimilars. Humira is by far the all-time biopharmaceutical revenue generator, with more than $15 billion in US sales in 2021.[1] Adalimumab biosimilars will also be...

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...

October 29th marks the 40th anniversary of one of biotechnology’s most significant milestones — the approval by the FDA of human insulin synthesized in genetically engineered bacteria to treat diabetes. The first “biopharmaceutical,” or drug made with molecular genetic engineering techniques, to be approved, it launched a revolutionary era in drug development. Insulin is secreted in the pancreas and is essential to the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. Insulin deficiency leads to the development of diabetes. Many diabetics require regular injections...

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....

CLICK HERE TO READ THE BRIEF In addition to the reforms to the health insurance system, which will help address the problems of drug affordability, reforms tailored to the pharmaceutical sector are necessary. These reforms should eliminate drug supply chain inefficiencies and include: fostering a patient-controlled generics market, creating price transparency through reforms that ensure patients directly benefit from all discounts when purchasing their medicines,  fixing the drug formularies’ systemic biases against low-cost medicines, and encouraging contracting innovations that could create...

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...

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued an update to the home health payment system on June 22nd. This proposed rule, rife with legalese and sheer complexity, should be held up as Exhibit A for why socialized healthcare schemes such as Medicare for All will never work. The proposal’s obsessions with “aggregate expenditures” and “overall utilization” reveal one of the fundamental flaws of government-run healthcare – the belief that bureaucrats can efficiently serve individual’s needs by imposing aggregate caps and regulations based on population...