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Category: Healthcare

  • ‘Surprise Billing’ Debate Must Include All Voices

    Ross Marchand on May 6, 2019

    When patients go to a hospital that is in their insurance network, they expect that payment will be a done deal. But sometimes, they receive an unexpected bill from a physician who accepts dissimilar insurance plans than those accepted by the hospital where the physician saw the patient.

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  • Watchdog Group Praises FDA for Approving New Harm Reduction Technology

    Grace Morgan on April 30, 2019

    – Today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it is allowing the selling of a revolutionary tobacco heating system known as IQOS. This reduced-risk product heats tobacco without burning it, allowing smokers the sensation of traditional smoking without releasing harmful carcinogens. Despite these benefits, the FDA took more than 2 years to approve the selling of this product. » Read More
  • Has Senator Cassidy moved away from healthcare rate-setting? Conservatives hope so.

    Ross Marchand on April 30, 2019

    health care
    As insurance networks get narrower by the year thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the issue of “surprise billing”has policymakers in a bind. Every day, lawmakers and industry stakeholders hear stories of patients being treated at an in-network hospital yet still receiving $50,000 bills from out-of-network physicians operating from said hospitals.  Too often, gaps and discrepancies in coverage leave patients with the sense that they may be slapped with extra costs for services and physicians they once assumed were within the scope of their coverage.

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  • When Looking At Healthcare Costs: Take A Pragmatic, Policy-Focused Approach

    Ross Marchand on April 29, 2019

    pharmacy pills
    Tomorrow (April 30), the House Energy and Commerce Committee will examine prescription drug payments in Medicare Parts B and D. Congress is to be applauded for looking into the rising cost of healthcare and it appears that the committee will discuss and examine recently proposed harmful practices such as step therapy. Instead of considering policies that will restrict care for patients, Congress should take a hard look at real cost drivers in our system, as well as the proposals to help lower costs for patients.

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  • Drug Price Index Would Mean Higher Costs, Less Care for Patients

    Ross Marchand on April 29, 2019

    Image result for pills at pharmacy
    This article originally appeared in InsideSources on April 25, 2019. 

    As many Americans have come to realize, the federal government rarely has the answers to America’s most pressing issues. But on the key issue of high (and rising) drug costs, the government – specifically the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – thinks that it can wave a magic wand and bring prices down in one fell swoop via an International Price Index (IPI). There are plenty of potential reforms that could increase the quality and decrease the cost of care, but IPI is a quack cure for America’s healthcare woes.

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  • Pharmacy Benefit Managers: The Middlemen of Medicare

    Grace Morgan on April 29, 2019

    TPA joined together with free-market groups voicing strong support for the Trump Administration's efforts to eliminate drug rebate programs. While most actors in the drug pricing debates are held accountable, for too long PBMs have been able to remain unchallenged. President Trump is proposing to end this era of backdoor deals in the drug industry, bring real transparency to drug markets, and deliver savings directly to patients when they walk into the pharmacy. » Read More
  • Market-Based Medicine Beats Grim Prognosis

    Ross Marchand on April 11, 2019

    woman standing next to woman riding wheelchair
    This article originally appeared in the Catalyst on April 2, 2019.

    For nearly a decade, the American public, insurers, and taxpayers have gotten used to hearing bad news about the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) and have personally felt its effects. Premiums were rising, networks were narrowing, plans were being cancelled, and insurers were dropping out as then-President Obama assured the public that more Americans would soon be insured. But now, thanks in large part to Trump administration reforms, there’s finally a stable marketplace with falling prices. And now that the Department of Justice has announced it will no longer defend the law’s constitutionality, Obamacare’s final demise may not be far off.  The administration and Congress have a historic opportunity to enact more market-oriented reforms that can cover more people at a lower cost to taxpayers and consumers. » Read More
  • 'Reference Pricing' Would be Bitter Pill for Millions of Patients to Swallow

    Ross Marchand on April 1, 2019

    Image result for pills at pharmacy
    This article was originally published in RealClearPolicy on April 1, 2019. 

    With enough research, development, and vision, a speculative “dream cure” for a terrible disease can turn into an obtainable reality for millions of patients. But unfortunately, sometimes government policy gets in the way of promising cures. In October 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services proposed a devastating rule that would tether Medicare Part B drugs to a rigid pricing structure modeled after European single-payer healthcare systems. » Read More
  • Free Market Groups Unite Against Healthcare Price Controls

    Grace Morgan on March 28, 2019

    TPA joined together with free-market groups to explain why the proposed International Pricing Index (IPI) for Medicare Part B drugs will harm taxpayers and chill innovation.
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  • War on Cancer Progress Depends on Market Innovation

    Ross Marchand on March 26, 2019

    Image result for cancer ribbon
    This article was originally published in the Catalyst on March 23, 2019. 

    In 1971, President Richard Nixon declared war on an unconventional foe: cancer. Like the other war that was being waged at the time, policymakers had both some good but also many flawed ideas about how to beat the enemy. Thankfully, with the war on cancer, many of the good ideas won out and significant progress has been achieved in these past 48 years—owing primarily to the unleashing of market forces in developing game-changing cures. Now, as President Trump pledges to double down on cancer research funding, the chief executive, his administration, and Congress could stand to learn a thing or two about what has gone right—and wrong—during our nearly-fifty year tussle with this bitter and relentless foe. » Read More
  • Precision Medicine Needs Research Dollars, Not Price-Fixing

    Ross Marchand on March 18, 2019

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  • Coalition Support for Cell and Gene Replacement Therapy

    Grace Morgan on March 7, 2019

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    Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) along with fifteen additional free-market organizations sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Azar in support of transformative healthcare opportunities on the horizon, including cell and gene therapies. 
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  • Greater Ambulance Flexibility Can Save Lives and Dollars

    Ross Marchand on February 27, 2019

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    This article originally appeared in Catalyst on February 25, 2019. 

    When a patient finds themselves in the back of an ambulance, there’s little question of the final destination. While emergency rooms (ERs) are ideal for potentially-fatal ailments such as heart attacks and gunshot wounds, the over-reliance on ERs for more minor issues diverts key dollars and personnel away from where they are needed. According to an IBM Watson study, nearly a quarter of patients in the ER didn’t, in fact, require medical attention, and more than 40 percent required care that could have been carried out in a primary care setting. » Read More
  • Gene Replacement Can be the Cure that Patients—and Taxpayers—Have Been Looking For

    Ross Marchand on February 21, 2019

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    This article originally appeared in the Catalyst on February 15, 2019. 

    “Preventative medicine” is a great idea, except for the small caveat that the concept has saved few lives at a substantial cost. For example, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and Tufts–New England Medical Center, screening all 65-year-olds for diabetes (as opposed to screening only 65-year-olds with hypertension for diabetes) costs hundreds of thousands of dollars for each year of life saved. But what if a one-time shot early in life could prevent diseases such as diabetes altogether, saving countless lives and health care dollars? Fortunately, a new line of treatment—gene replacement therapy—offers the game-changing benefits to patients that doctors could only dream of a decade ago. And, this new technology could save taxpayers billions of dollars. » Read More
  • Genetics-Based Medicine can Save Millions of Lives and Billions of Dollars

    Ross Marchand on February 5, 2019

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    This article originally appeared in the Catalyst on January 31, 2019.

    Anyone who has had a bacterial infection can attest to the misery of being bedridden and the frustration of taking medications that sometimes do not work. Why some drugs work and some don’t has been a mystery since the advent of modern medicine a century ago, but new advances in medical research show strong links between genetic variation and drug responses. » Read More
  • Native Americans Deserve Better Than Socialized Medicine

    Ross Marchand on January 14, 2019

    Image result for stock image of doctor with patient
    This article originally appeared in the Catalyst on January 3, 2018.

    The results are in, argues The Center for Public Integrity’s Wendell Potter: America’s healthcare system underperforms due to “the belief that the free market…can work as well in health care as it can in other sectors of the economy.” Don’t tell that to the more than 2 million Native Americans who receive their medical care through a federal service known as the Indian Health Service (IHS).

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  • Healthcare pricing mandates are no substitute for shopping around

    Ross Marchand on January 10, 2019

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    This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner on January 7, 2019. 

    It's easy to pay without thinking twice. On trips to the supermarket, consumers can see the price of any product and decide whether or not to buy accordingly, forcing sellers to keep costs as low as possible. A consumer who wouldn’t think much of a $2 price tag for a dozen eggs wouldn’t buy the same product for $20.  But if that same customer had someone else’s credit card, and no credit limit, then what does it matter if eggs are $2 or $20 a dozen? Sadly, that’s how markets work right now in the medical sector, where the government and third-party insurers are the primary payers and individuals have no incentive to shop around. » Read More
  • Why I Care About Harm Reduction

    David Williams on January 7, 2019

    Image result for iqos
    This article originally appeared on Inside Sources on January 6, 2019.

    As president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, I don’t usually write about policy from a personal perspective (even though I am a taxpayer). Over the past two years, TPA has written extensively about the Food and Drug Administration and its unique position to approve harm reduction products that help people switch from traditional cigarettes to reduced-risk products, such as vaping and heat-not-burn products like IQOS. » Read More
  • Mandated Listing of Pharmaceutical Prices Would Worsen American Healthcare Crisis

    Ross Marchand on October 25, 2018

    Congress has faced the same question about what can be done about high drug prices for decades. Recent policies, such as lowering regulatory barriers to drug approval, have already yielded results and begun to lower prices. Other ideas, such as expanding the use of tax-free savings accounts and reducing insurer mandates, hold additional promise for injecting market forces into the American healthcare system to bring down costs. 

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  • The FDA Must Avoid Policies that Would Inflame the Opioid Crisis

    Ross Marchand on September 17, 2018

    Last week, the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) convened an expert discussion panel on the opioid crisis with Jessica Hulsey Nickel (the President & Chief Executive Officer of the Addiction Policy Forum), and  Charmaine Yoest (Associate Director at the Office of National Drug Control Policy) in the Executive Office of the President. Both Nickel and Yoest shared poignant stories about the epidemic which has claimed more than 200,000 lives over the past 20 years. Both experts agreed that a comprehensive government approach is needed to ensure that the crisis of opioid addiction and abuse is addressed without limiting access to those with legitimate needs for medications. The conversation underscored the dire seriousness of the situation, but also provided real insight into how the private and non-profit sectors can and are working with government to help end the crisis and get those affected the care and support that they need.

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