Different Takes: ‘Medicare For All’ Is Not A Magic Pill Unless Cost Of Delivery Falls; Talk About Lowering Drug Prices Won’t Cut It
Editorial writers weigh in on efforts to improve quality of care and lower costs.
Los Angeles Times:
'Medicare For All’ Is Popular, But It's Likely Doomed To Fail
America’s fascination with Medicare for all is born of good intentions. Americans are hurting and in search of relief. Nearly 30% of U.S. adults struggle to pay their medical bills, and more than 20% say they’ve put off treatment or filling a prescription because of cost. Unfortunately, in our search for a magic pill, we’ve missed the key point. Government-run programs work well in the rest of the world because the cost of medical care delivery — what doctors, nurses and drug companies get paid — is considerably less than in the United States. Lowering the cost of care would mean reining in drug prices, eliminating unnecessary procedures, and closing small, inefficient hospitals. Until we do, every approach, including Medicare for all, will fail. There is no painless solution, no magic pill. (Robert Pearl, 2/28)
Republicans Promise To Lower Drug Costs — Don't Believe Them
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, held a hearing on drug prices and several CEOs of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world testified. Ostensibly, the hearing is to look at why drug prices are so high in the United States and discuss laws that could be implemented by Congress, or regulations imposed by the Trump administration, to help reduce the cost of medicine for the American people. As someone who believes that drug costs in this country are out of control, on the one hand, I am pleased that this congressional took place. However, I strongly doubt that Republicans on Capitol Hill or President Donald Trump, are serious about doing anything about the costs of medicine because they probably don’t want to threaten drug companies’ profits or stock prices. (Former Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), 2/27)
Health Care Spending Is More Than Just The Parts You See
People focus on the health costs that are most tangible and sometimes outrageous to them: their deductibles, and drug costs, and surprise medical bills, and the annual increase in the share of the premium they pay. But there's more that gets less attention because it's not as visible to them. (Drew Altman, 2/28)
The Gainesville Sun:
Larry Lowenthal: World's Best Health Care System? Not U.S.
At least she was honest about it. I once sat on a panel evaluating candidates for public office. One candidate told us her solution to solving America’s health-care crisis: require that all residents purchase health insurance at market rates, with “government” subsidizing those who needed financial help. Then, anyone without coverage would be denied service. “What if,” I asked, “some people slip through the insurance cracks and show up at the ER very sick or seriously injured?” (Larry Lowenthal, 2/25)
The Real State Of Emergency In Texas? Our Lack Of Health Insurance
Mr. Johnson, a middle-aged man with salt and pepper hair, wasn’t sleeping well. At first, the two pillows he wedged beneath his back helped, but now he was getting short of breath even in his La-Z-Boy. ...That’s where I, a cardiologist in training, saw him. He didn’t need me to tell him the news he already knew. His heart failure was getting worse. He hadn’t been taking his medications, he reluctantly confessed. It wasn’t for a lack of trying. His wife explained that they had to take turns buying medications. They could not afford their prescriptions nor their health insurance, and they did not qualify for Medicaid. The couple would buy his heart medications at times and her insulin the other times. Now they were taking turns being admitted to the hospital. (Taimur Safder, 2/27)
Louisville Budget Cuts: Expect Rise In Hep A, HIV, Overdoses
In 2018 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report showing that for the first time in a century, average life expectancy in the U.S. fell. The decline, fueled by a rise in drug overdoses and suicides, sends a loud warning that we, as a nation and a city, must continue to invest in public health. Protecting people from disasters and disease outbreaks. Providing immunizations. Screening people for disease. Promoting on-the-job health and safety. These are all investments that save lives. Today in Louisville, that investment is threatened by a $65 million budget shortfall over four years, driven largely by an increasing state pension obligation. (Karen Cost, 2/27)