Issues

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...

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...

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...