Issues

Did the Biden administration participate in closed-door meetings with foreign officials to deal away some of America's most valuable intellectual property? It appears so. According to a letter sent by six senators to U.S. Trade Ambassador Katherine Tai on May 10, the Biden administration negotiated a proposal with the European Union, India and South Africa to suspend IP protections for COVID-19 vaccines without consulting Congress like it's supposed to. The senators condemn her for negotiating behind their backs. They're right to be incensed. Ambassador Tai's...

More than eight in 10 hospitals are flouting a federal rule requiring them to publish their prices, according to a new report. That rule has been in force for over a year now. It’s long past time for hospitals to comply. The lack of transparency in the health care market is costing patients billions of dollars. Since Jan. 1, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have mandated that hospitals share how much they charge for at least 300 different “shoppable...

Earlier this month, members of the World Trade Organization met to debate a proposal to waive intellectual property protections on COVID-19 vaccines. Supporters of the plan claim it's necessary to boost the supply of vaccines in developing countries and, in turn, vaccinate the world. But insufficient supply isn't holding up the global vaccination campaign. In fact, many developing countries have a surplus of vaccines. Consider South Africa, which is preparing to destroy its stockpile of expiring doses and terminate its mass vaccination program. Or take the Serum Institute of India, which shut...

Nearly three in four doctors now work for a hospital, health system, or corporate entity, according to new data from Avalere. That's a 7% increase from a year ago—and an almost 20% jump since 2019. In other words, the independent physician is becoming an endangered species. The corporatization of medicine is sapping competition in the healthcare marketplace. And that's leading to higher prices for patients—and lower pay for providers. The pandemic accelerated the longstanding trend of greater consolidation in medicine. Large health systems acquired more than 36,000 physician...

By Henry I. Miller and Jeff Stier The two-years-plus of the COVID-19 pandemic should be a wakeup call that there is something very wrong – irreparable, even – at the chronically inept World Health Organization (WHO). Two recent transgressions show that the bureaucrats there are not getting any smarter. The first is almost inconceivable. Medicago, a Canadian company, developed a COVID-19 vaccine synthesized in the Nicotiniana plant, a relative of tobacco. In clinical testing, it showed efficacy against all variants studied prior to the emergence of Omicron of 71%, and for...

Listen to the author of a new study discuss how America’s broken third-party healthcare payment system prioritizes government and insurance companies as the largest payers, leaving patients with higher out-of-pocket costs, greater exposure to healthcare financial risk, and reduced access to care.  To learn more, read the "Coverage Denied" series from PRI's Center for Medical Economics and Innovation. ...

America’s broken third-party healthcare payment system prioritizes government and insurance companies as the largest payers, leaving patients with higher out-of-pocket costs, greater exposure to healthcare financial risk, and reduced access to care - finds the latest paper in the Coverage Denied series released today by the Center for Medical Economics and Innovation at the nonpartisan Pacific Research Institute. Click here to read the brief “The healthcare marketplace should prioritize the needs of patients, but our broken third-party payment system caters to insurers...

Last week, both New York and Kansas granted nurse practitioners the freedom to practice independently, without the supervision of a physician. The Empire State and the Sunflower State are now the 25th and 26th states to roll back "scope-of-practice" restrictions on NPs. This trend is worth celebrating. The shortage of primary care doctors in the United States is already at crisis levels, particularly in rural areas. Empowering NPs, physician assistants, and pharmacists to treat people independently could expand the supply of health care virtually overnight — at...

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just recommended that seniors get a second COVID-19 booster shot. But there are plenty of people over the age of 65 — one-third, according to the latest data — who have not yet gotten their first booster. Perhaps that's because it took until the omicron variant emerged last fall for the CDC to get behind booster shots for all adults. Or maybe it's because public health officials have been peddling confusing and contradictory messaging...

Sustainably addressing the problems of rising prices and declining quality requires reforms that empower patients and doctors, improve price transparency, and eliminate the perverse incentives of our current health insurance system that drive up costs and limit care. Instead of addressing the health care system’s core deficiencies, policymakers push for counterproductive policies like price controls. Efforts in Indiana show that politicians do not need to pass legislation to implement bad ideas. The threat of legislation is sufficient. Indiana’s Senate President Pro Tempore...

In the last three months, state legislators have introduced more than 70 bills that would modify “scope-of-practice” laws—regulations that set limits on the care physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and other qualified professionals can provide to patients. It’s no wonder why. Many state lawmakers understood the benefits of temporarily relaxing these restrictions as COVID-19 strained the healthcare system. Freeing up physician assistants and nurse practitioners to provide more services made it easier for patients to access care during the pandemic. And it gave physicians more time...

Nearly 84 million Americans live in “primary-care health professional shortage areas” — places that don’t have enough primary-care physicians to meet patient need. That includes over 7.8 million patients living here in California. Even in the face of this shortage, only 25 states grant the right of “full practice” to nurse practitioners, or NPs, who could immediately address this problem. In the remaining states, “scope-of-practice” laws prevent NPs from evaluating patients, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests and managing treatments. States with such...

Last week, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee held a hearing, "Prescription Drug Price Inflation: An Urgent Need to Lower Drug Prices in Medicare." It's rare to see so many falsehoods in so few words. The idea that drug-price inflation is especially bad or that it poses some sort of threat to our health system is at best confused — and at worst dishonest. The hearing was largely intended to give Senate Democrats a forum to grandstand with calls for price controls on prescription drugs. That such...

The federal public health emergency prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic is set to expire in mid-April. Some states have already let their own emergency declarations lapse. It's about time. COVID-19 is no longer the crisis it was back in 2020. Living in a permanent state of emergency is unsustainable. But that doesn't mean we should go back to the pre-pandemic status quo. Many of the reforms enacted during the state of emergency — especially those that liberalized the healthcare labor market — deserve to...

It ignores the risk of hazardous drug-drug interactions with the Pfizer pill. As someone who has closely followed and written extensively about the development of COVID-19 vaccines and drug treatments since the beginning of the pandemic, one pronouncement in President Joe Biden's State of the Union speech raised red flags: "We're also ready with antiviral treatments. If you get COVID-19, the Pfizer pill reduces your chances of ending up in the hospital by 90% ...

As President Biden's recent State of the Union address made clear, drug pricing will remain a top policy issue for the foreseeable future. The president is correct that something must be done, but his proposals are wrongheaded and will only make things worse. Instead of focusing on government price controls, Congress should remove the obstacles limiting patient control and choice. The claim that prices are lower, and quality is higher, when consumers have more choices is typically uncontroversial. Yet, for some reason...

Popular wisdom is often wrong. Consider, for example, how it views organic agriculture, which has grown to a $48 billion a year industry in the U.S. Organic products are sold at outlets ranging from local farmers' markets to large supermarket chains, and many people assume that there is something more natural, wholesome, or environmentally sustainable about them. None of that is true. What's remarkable about this agriculture sector is that the government's extensive promotion has been a hoax from the beginning, having nothing...