I know how we can rein in the rising cost of healthcare in America.
In fact, if my math is correct (full disclosure, I majored in public relations and journalism because I couldn’t do the math), I can reverse the trend and actually reduce the cost of healthcare.
The answer is so simple.
Okay, starting today, we prohibit the creation of any new diagnostic techniques, outlaw the invention of any new medical devices, and cease all research that would ultimately lead to the discovery of any new drugs.
In virtually no time at all, we’ll chop the cost of healthcare significantly.
All in favor, say “aye.”
Everybody with me?
Now, I’m not here to defend the likes of former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli, who famously obtained the manufacturing license for the antiparasitic drug Daraprim and raised its price by 5,556 percent. This guy makes Gordon Gekko of Wall Street fame look like Bernie Sanders.
Sadly, what Martin did is apparently perfectly legal. But America being the wonderful place that it is, Marty may have a future as a guest of the federal penal system as a result of some misunderstanding over what the government calls securities fraud. That little paperwork snafu got noticed when he brought the attention of the world on himself and his company for jacking up the price of the drug and turning up his nose at the patients who needed it to live. Were it not for his greed in the drug price hike, the securities scam would likely have gone unnoticed.
If he’s convicted, I hope Marin gets a good job in the infirmary cleaning bed pans for the next 10-20 years with no time off for good behavior. His actions have poisoned the well.
Good companies, run by good people, are discovering things to save lives, ease pain and suffering, and cure disease. These companies operate principally in the private sector. That’s how we do things in America. And as it should be. (Sorry, Bernie. I love you, man, but we can’t stop the progress in medicine.) These inventions and discoveries don’t come free, and they don’t come easy.
If you want the lifesaving valve to replace the bad one in your heart, and thereby save your life, you will have to pay for it. Or someone else will. Again, I am not suggesting we allow the Martin Shkrelis of the world to run wild. In fact, let’s round up the robber barons of modern healthcare and send them to the same penal resort Martin may be headed for.
But please let’s not curb honest scientific discovery in the name of healthcare reform. Because to do so would be neither.