The Center for a Free Economy believes in a health care system which is focused on the empowered patient and her doctor. Neither the government nor big business forces in the healthcare system should not get between patients and providers. Families need the means to take control of their own health care decisions. It’s also important to remember that health care policy these days is tax policy, and vice-versa.
Recent News about Healthcare Policy:
The Center for a Free Economy commissioned a poll by McLaughlin Associates of 1000 likely voters over the age of 65. We found that 86 percent of senior citizens agree—with 68 percent strongly agreeing—that drug price discounts negotiated by insurance companies should be passed on to consumers to lower out-of-pocket expenses at the pharmacy counter. This is otherwise known as "rebate reform." The data is unambiguous, and elected officials have a clear responsibility to act. Ensuring the affordability of prescription drugs is vitally important to voters across the United States. In these times of uncertainty, policymakers should be enacting free market measures to drive down the costs of medicines for the American people at the pharmacy counter rather than resorting to government price controls that result in less health care and state rationing of health care. Government should never get between you and your doctor. Links to: Press release Slide [...]
By Ryan Ellis Congress is usually not very good at basic lessons of economics. In fact, simple arithmetic is usually challenging for most elected officials. But as the debate over the next COVID-19-related bill continues, there are three basic rules of economics Congress should keep in mind. If you want more of something, subsidize it. The CARES Act, the law that created the Paycheck Protection Program, was a mixture of Republican and Democrat priorities. The worst idea from the latter category was to create a kind of “super-unemployment” program. The main feature of this “super-unemployment” was a federal booster payment of $600 per week on top of regular state unemployment benefits. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that as a result of the extra money, 80% of unemployment recipients are paid more in benefits than they were paid in their old job. That’s led to anecdotal accounts of businesses (think restaurants) not being [...]
By Ryan Ellis No one will know until final reports are in, but our best guess at the moment is that about 36 million people have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. For many of these newly unemployed, the transition not only means the loss of a paycheck, but it also means losing workplace health insurance benefits. What happens to your insurance plan when you lose your job? It’s not generally well known, but you can keep your old plan for up to a year and a half under a program called COBRA. This requires the former employee paying the insurance company 102% of the full monthly premium (the extra 2 percentage points are for administrative overhead), so taking COBRA is not a cheap option. However, staying on COBRA means not losing deductible accumulation in your plan, not having to worry about what doctors and hospitals are covered, etc. There [...]
By Ryan Ellis Millions of people have found a simultaneously grim yet welcome surprise in their mailboxes of late: rebate checks from their car insurance companies which find themselves paying out far fewer claims as a result of COVID-19 “stay at home” orders. While modest, these premium givebacks are, of course, welcome at a time of economic uncertainty. Unfortunately, people have no such luck with their health insurance premiums. Despite paying these in full, access to healthcare is restricted. Elective surgical procedures and in-person doctor visits are mostly canceled except in emergencies. Insurance companies are certainly having to pay for coronavirus-related claims, but it’s hard to imagine them paying for much else right now outside of babies and heart attacks. That isn’t the fault of Big Insurance, but it’s certainly to their benefit. We can add this windfall to several others the health insurance industry has enjoyed in recent years. Last month, [...]
By Carrie Lukas May 7, 2020 Dear Member of Congress: We write to express strong opposition to the idea several Democratic lawmakers are pushing: To deny patents, exclusivity, and property rights to biomedical innovators, targeted specifically at those working furiously on vaccines, diagnostics, therapies, and cures for the COVID-19 scourge. While the proposal is said to apply only to medicines for COVID-19, even that limitation would be dangerous, disruptive, and unacceptable. Therefore, Congress must exercise prudence and good judgment and reject this shortsighted idea. The proposal calls for three exclusivity-stripping measures to be included in a COVID-related bill. Biopharmaceutical companies would be denied the following essential patent and private intellectual property rights: “[E]xclusivity for any COVID-19 vaccine, drug, or other therapeutic—whether it has been developed with U.S. taxpayer dollars and publicly funded, or not.” Sale of “any COVID-19 vaccine, drug or therapeutic at an unreasonable price, whether or not it has been developed [...]
By Grace-Marie Turner Surprise medical bills and drug costs are dominating the health care agenda on Capitol Hill, but it is a huge understatement to say there is a lack of consensus on solutions. We are working with our allies in the health freedom community to provide a path forward on both. On prescription drugs, Galen Senior Fellow Doug Badger has offered recommendations on “How Congress Can Make Real Progress on Drug Prices.” We’ve written and will continue to write about the importance of proposals that show real savings to consumers and protect the innovation that is producing dramatic cures and treatments. On surprise medical bills, Congress is gridlocked between insurance companies that want the government to force non-network doctors to accept network rates, and doctors who want the government to appoint arbitrators to decide how much insurers should pay non-network doctors. Whichever path they take will anger big players, and [...]