Monday, July 02, 2007

American Pharmaceuticals Thrive, Europe's are Dying

The next time you want to fall for the idea of universal healthcare a la Europe's socialistic schemes, read this essay by Andrew Sullivan. It points out that innovation thrives in a free market and dies under socialism. The American pharmaceutical industry is making remarkable--some might say miraculous--advances in treatments for all sorts of deadly and debilitating diseases.

If you want to kill those advancements, vote for universal healthcare. If not, fight like hell to retain our current, even mixed economy approach, and then fight even harder for a true free market healthcare system.

I remember looking into a CT lung scan, having been a smoker for a number of years. I don't know what the insured price for a scan would be, but I know that I can get a high-quality scan performed outside of insurance for about $300. That seems entirely reasonable to me, since it could locate any problems while they're still treatable (which a normal x-ray may or may not identify). I imagine that if such scans were covered under insurance, and thus not subject to normal market pressures, they'd be far more expensive (although I personally might pay a little less after deductibles have been met). Imagine the impact on healthcare spending in general if the market were allowed to set prices.

I've read accounts that we're on the cusp of curing various forms of cancer, and already, certain forms have been turned from terminal diagnoses to manageable diseases. And that's due entirely to the efforts of the American pharmaceutical industry. Rather than attacking these companies, we should be honoring them.

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