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Category: Healthcare

  • 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

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    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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  • Patents and Intellectual Property: Essential for Competition and Global Health

    Ross Marchand on August 21, 2018

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    For more than a century, the United States has consistently led the world in technological development. From automobiles to iPhones, America has helped to create new industries and raise the standard of living worldwide. But game-changing developments in medicine, communication, and transportation wouldn’t be possible without assurances that inventors would benefit from their contributions. The driving force in promoting innovation is protecting intellectual property (IP) through thorough patent, copyright, and trademark enforcement. 

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  • Accountability is Coming to 340B – Better Late Than Never

    Ross Marchand on August 7, 2018

    On August 1, the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent letters to the CEOs of nine contract pharmacies that participate in the 340B Drug Pricing Program. The letters, which bring attention to the “diversion and duplicate discounts” and lack of oversight by covered entities, are a powerful reminder that the program is failing to live up to its promise. As the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has previously discussed in blog pieces, letters, statements, and social media, the 340B Program has morphed into a paradigm for government waste and is in desperate need of reform. » Read More
  • Mandating List Prices on Advertisements Won’t Bring Down Drug Prices

    Ross Marchand on July 27, 2018

    President Trump has made his campaign promise to lower the cost of healthcare and drug prices a high priority for his administration. His proposal and his policies have already yielded results.  And, the implementation of many of his other ideas hold promise in injecting market forces into the American healthcare system to bring down costs. Not all administration proposals are created equally, though; one proposal in particular would prove counterproductive in bringing down prices despite hype by some “reform” advocates. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) has introduced an amendment into an appropriations bill that would force drug manufacturers to include the list price of a drug in any advertisement.

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  • Medicare Part D Reforms Needed to Keep Costs Low for Taxpayers and Seniors

    Ross Marchand on May 30, 2018

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    When paying for healthcare, American seniors often have a difficult time navigating through the benefit structures and limitations of Medicare. While Medicare Part D registers astronomical approval ratings from seniors, there is a large cost problem. Drugs accessible to seniors face rampant cost escalation, forcing individuals on a fixed income to make difficult choices in financing their medical needs.  And, taxpayers pay the increased costs through public health plans. Attempted reforms to save seniors and taxpayers from unintended costs have proven futile  and must be reversed to bring sanity back to the system. » Read More
  • President Trump’s Healthcare Plan is Already Bringing Down Drug Prices

    David Williams on May 23, 2018

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    President Trump’s focus on drug prices is already paying off. Almost immediately following the President’s speech on drug pricing, pharmaceutical manufacturer Amgen announced that their new treatment for migraines will cost 30 percent less than analysts anticipated.  This is good news for patients and taxpayers who foot the bill for these medications via government healthcare plans. » Read More
  • TPA Criticizes Proposals for Heavy-Handed Drug Regulations

    David Williams on May 10, 2018

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    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) criticized proposals by leading Congressional Democrats to create a drug price “enforcer” ahead of the President’s speech on the issue Friday.  Party leaders such as House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D- Calif.), and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D- N.Y.) have sought to highlight rising pharmaceutical prices under the Trump Administration and propose heavy-handed alternatives to the status-quo. » Read More
  • Private Foundations Help Medicare Beneficiaries and Taxpayers Save Money

    Ross Marchand on May 3, 2018

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    When it comes to federal entitlement programs, Medicare Part D often wins ‘best-in-show,’ costing less than originally estimated while maintaining overwhelming satisfaction from participants. Now a new study from Avalere sheds light on how to help all Medicare programs mirror Part D’s success – to the benefit of federal taxpayers across the country. » Read More
  • To Curb Health-Care Costs, End Merry-Go-Round of Taxpayer Payments

    Ross Marchand on March 27, 2018

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    American consumers and taxpayers are spending more on healthcare than they ever have been before. And, if nothing changes, costs will continue to eat into earnings and tax bills. Spending on healthcare is projected to increase by more than five percent every year until 2026, according to the federal government. Premiums and out-of-pocket spending will rise faster than inflation, wages, and economic growth. Rising premiums will inevitably cut into wages, as employers respond to increasing rates by garnishing paychecks. Taxpayers across the country will also pay dearly for the continued rise in costs, as 47 percent of all health care expenses will be borne by Uncle Sam by 2026. » Read More
  • Proposed Legislation Would Save Taxpayers from 340B Program Abuse

    David Williams and Ross Marchand on March 14, 2018

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    Taxpayers deserve accountability in the government programs they fund. Despite the good intentions of lawmakers creating “simple, effective” programs, government schemes often become befuddling boondoggles free of any oversight. In the realm of health-care policy, the 340B program is perhaps the best example of these noble intentions gone awry. Program goals to provide low-income patients with affordable medications have been compromised by burgeoning costs, mission creep, and little reporting by program participants.  Fortunately, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) recently introduced legislation that provides greater accountability in the rapidly expanding 340B drug discount program. Another encouraging sign of progress is that the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions is holding a hearing this week on the drug discount program. 

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  • Free Market Forces and Healthcare: The Results Are In

    David Williams and Ross Marchand on March 13, 2018

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    If you feel like you’re spending more on your healthcare lately, that’s because you are. In fact, we all are, and spending on healthcare will increase by more than five percent every year until 2026. Premiums and out-of-pocket spending will rise faster than inflation, wages, and economic growth. Rising premiums will inevitably cut into wages, as employers respond to increasing rates by garnishing paychecks. Recent research shows that the toll on wages plays a significant role in income inequality.

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  • TPA Joins Coalition Urging Congress to Stop CFPB Rule Curtailing Short-Term Consumer Loans

    Taxpayers Protection Alliance on February 7, 2018

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    Today, TPA joined together with 22 free market groups led by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) to send a letter to Congress asking lawmakers to stop the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) rule against short-term “payday” loans. The rule also deprives citizens and lawmakers in every state from deciding for themselves how to regulate small dollar loans and fails to take into consideration the impact the rule will have on small businesses, the letter explains. Time is running out for Congress to disapprove the rule using the Congressional Review Act, with an estimated deadline of March 5. The letter asks Congress to vote now on House Joint Resolution 122, introduced by Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) and co-sponsored by Reps. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Steve Stivers (R-OH), and Tom Graves (R-GA).

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  • Taxpayers Protection Alliance Releases National Survey: Republicans View Revoking IPAB as Critical Step Toward Repealing Obamacare

    Grace Morgan on January 10, 2018

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    Despite widespread disagreement over the best way to reform the American health care system, a new poll commissioned by the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) found a clear consensus among Republican voters for repealing the Affordable Care Act (known as “Obamacare”) and the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) provision of that law. “With last year’s repeal of the individual mandate, Republicans in Congress have the momentum to further undo the damage Obamacare has inflicted on the healthcare system,” said TPA President David Williams. “Next on the list should be repealing IPAB, one of the worst parts of Obamacare. IPAB allows unelected bureaucrats to cut Medicare without Congressional approval and inserts government between Americans and their doctors.”

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  • Single-Payer Promises Consumers and Taxpayers a World of Pain

    Ross Marchand on September 25, 2017

    This article appeared in The Hill on September 25, 2017. 

    Back in the dog days of the Obama Administration, advocates of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) virulently pushed back on the charge that their law was just a backdoor to a single-payer health care system. But, now as the unpopular law sputters out of control and enables double-digit premium increases, some lawmakers think that the answer is even more government intervention. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a longstanding advocate of taxpayer-funded medicine, finally released his single-payer bill last week to much fanfare from his liberal supporters. The rabid show of support by the grassroots Left shows that old ideas truly die-hard. Back during the 2016 Democratic primaries, experts from across the ideological spectrum criticized the Senator’s plan as too costly and unworkable in practice. With large required payment cuts to hospitals and physicians and tax hikes on the working class, it’s little wonder why support can’t and won’t expand beyond Bernie’s base.

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  • With Medicaid Block Grants, Canada (Yes, that’s Right) Offers a Useful Model

    Ross Marchand on August 7, 2017

    This piece was published in the Washington Examiner on August 1, 2017.

    As members of Congress bicker over the future of the Medicaid program, one phrase in particular has become a lightning rod, rallying cry, and Rorschach test all in one. Some believe that the use of a "block grant" system in Medicaid means that individuals will be forcibly cut off from the program and left with little to no care. To small-government crusaders, "block-granting" evokes memories of successful, large-scale decentralizations of federal programs in the 1990s. Completely handing off healthcare delivery to the states would permit experiments with new approaches, but it can potentially leave the door open to mismanagement and underfunding. » Read More
  • Rural America Needs Free Market Healthcare Reform

    David Williams on July 25, 2017

    This article appeared in The Hill on July 12, 2017. 

    While Americans are divided over how to reform our healthcare system, there is no question that the current model is unsustainable. Four years after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), families are still paying too much for substandard care, and some families have no options at all. Things will only get worse, especially for rural Americans.In fact, in 2018, 41 percent of counties across the country will have only one insurer option on their ACA individual exchanges — the government run marketplaces Americans use to view, compare and purchase insurance plans. It gets worse. In 49 counties nationwide there are no insurers participating at all, meaning that the 36,000 exchange participants in those counties don’t have access to insurance.

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  • To Reform Medicaid, Congress Must Understand Its Achilles’ Heel

    Ross Marchand on July 20, 2017

    This article appeared in The Daily Caller on July 14, 2017. 

    With healthcare reform sputtering in the Senate, warring lawmakers are endlessly arguing over what’s broken and how to fix the problems. The debate over reforming Medicaid is particularly heated, with narratives from all sides engulfing America’s predominant low-income insurer. The left has been disappointed by multiple studies showing little to no physical health benefits accruing to Medicaid patients, and are left grasping at straws. The right, though armed with empirical evidence showing the program’s impotency, doesn’t seem to have a good story as to why Medicaid fails so many patients. » Read More
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