Tech Central Station, the free market zine funded by Republican lobbying groups and huge mega-corps has once again popped up on the medical blogs, claiming that government involvement in health care will cause the complete and total end to drug and medical device design, adding the “Soviet Russia” comparison that’s always thrown in at TCS for good measure. Galen apparently has no problem with 44 million people going without health insurance, or seniors having no prescription drug coverage, all in the name of free market innovation.
Back to the article:
bq. As government attempts to push aside the private sector, one of the freest healthcare markets in the world would become even less free.
Y’know, I don’t really see the government scrambling to sign people up for its health programs–it’s usually people that *don’t* get coverage or help from the private sector (ie: their employers) that end up having to use government programs for help. In fact, 9 million fewer people received their health insurance through employers over the past two years, and 5 million more children are insured through the government, “many because their parents lost employer-sponsored insurance.” Nice work, private sector. (Also, don’t believe for a second that the Medicare drug coverage bill isn’t just a huge stipend to the private sector–the law was written by PhRMA and won’t be able to help many of the seniors it’s supposed to.)
bq. One sure consequence would be the stifling of innovative medical breakthroughs, like new drugs and medical devices that have long been the hallmark of the U.S. healthcare system… No other country comes close to that share, because no other country fosters entrepreneurship and innovation like the U.S.
No other country also has the level of development of the US, and still denies primary care access to 44 million of its citizens, resulting in sicker people, higher costs, and for many, death.
Guess what? MRI techniques were developed, primarily, by British scientists at Oxford and other universities. Canada transplanted the first heart valves in the world, did the first successful lung transplant, developed the most successful transplant for those with diabetes, and the list goes on. If you think countries with single-payer (or even national health services) can’t innovate, you’re simply wrong. There’s still plenty of money to be made, don’t worry.
In fact, if you look at number of journal articles published per capita, the US falls somewhere in the middle–slightly more than Canada, but less than the UK, New Zealand, Switzerland, Denmark, or Norway.
And most of the drugs we develop According to the NIH, taxpayer-funded scientists conducted 55 percent of the research projects that led to the discovery and development of the top five selling drugs in 1995.