Issues

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...

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recent decision on home healthcare services, if implemented, will increase overall healthcare expenditures and decrease the quality of services received by patients. CMS’ overarching goal is praiseworthy – the agency is trying to maintain budget neutrality while changing its payment system rates. A more praiseworthy goal would be to reduce expenditures but that is a different question, the larger problem is that CMS’ proposed expenditure reductions will more likely increase spending over time. At...

The wife of California Republican congressman Tom McClintock, Lori McClintock, died of dehydration due to gastroenteritis caused by “adverse effects of white mulberry leaf ingestion,” according to a just-released coroner’s report. That herb is just one of many dubious and potentially life-threatening herbal remedies and other dietary supplements on the market today. Dietary supplements are big business. Three out of four Americans take one or more regularly. For older Americans, the fraction is four out of five. One in three children also takes supplements....

Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) deploy numerous anticompetitive actions, which have not gone unnoticed. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has launched an inquiry to examine whether PBMs have adverse impacts “on the access and affordability of prescription drugs.” The government’s probe is welcome news. But there are many detrimental PBM practices that are creating unwarranted risks to patients’ health and, consequently, require remedying sooner rather than later. The growing restrictions on where providers can source their drugs, a practice referred to as white bagging,...

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...

SACRAMENTO – Biosimilars competition saves patients and the health care system over $11 billion annually and could generate even more savings if the broken drug pricing system were reformed, finds a new issue brief released today by the Center for Medical Economics and Innovation at the nonpartisan Pacific Research Institute. “Patients living with cancer, autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, and other illnesses are receiving revolutionary treatment from biologics,” said Dr. Wayne Winegarden, the Center director and the study’s author. “As our research shows,...

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...

Telehealth experiments during the pandemic confirmed the immense positive impact that virtual options provide to communities. It helps individuals in rural areas, those struggling with mental health crises, the poor, and even individuals with rare disorders. Speaking more generally, equipping young families with telehealth options also greatly helps parents. I write from experience. Not too long ago, my toddler awoke and the whole left side of her face had suddenly swollen during the night. She could hardly see out of her...

By Henry Miller & Stanley Young Are you confused about conflicting “research” findings on certain foods’ effects on our health? It would hardly be surprising. First, butter is the enemy; then, it’s solid margarine. Is caffeine good or bad for your heart? For a time, beta-carotene supplements are thought to prevent cancer — until they are found to increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers. And finally, does a woman’s diet at conception determine the sex of her fetus? When you do a...

By Henry Miller and Josh Bloom President Biden’s bout with COVID-19 is illustrative of the debate currently raging about “Paxlovid rebound” — the recurrence of symptoms and of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 after a seemingly successful five-day treatment course of Paxlovid. This phenomenon is not unusual, and it suggests that regulators should modify the terms of the drug’s Emergency Use Authorization. When he headed the Food & Drug Administration, Dr. Frank Young used to admonish his minions that sometimes regulations need to...

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...

CLICK HERE TO READ THE BRIEF Establishing an Efficient Health Insurance Market Cultivating an efficient health insurance market requires reforms that empower patients over payers, which can be achieved by: Making health expenditures and health insurance expenditures tax deductible;  Broadening the availability and usability of tax-free saving accounts to help patients cover the deductibles and out of pocket expenses that could arise should they require costly healthcare services; and Promoting price transparency and insurance competition to enable a more competitive pro-patient healthcare...

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...