ANTI-INCUMBENT.   PRO-FREEDOM.

Healthcare

 "You're Going The Wrong Way, Damn It" -  ObamaCare to Single-Payer.

 

This is a reply to the Dec 1 story about the high price of a new drug hepatitis drug developed by  Gilead Science and priced at $1000.
Mark Stewart, 51, is a Presidential Candidate from West Hartford CT, a challenger to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Party primaries.


 High Drug Prices: the progressives call it "greed"; the liberty-oriented call it "good."

Senator Wyden’s comment condemning a drug company’s “greed” again illustrates that progressives DON’T GET IT.  They do not understand the beauty of the Free Market, the function of prices, or the goodness that “greed” brings us all.

When a drug-maker secures a patent, seeking maximum profit from it is not only proper, it’s in the long run GOOD. 

High prices are impossible to sustain if the product lacks value.  Pricing a drug at $1000 per dose can only be done because some people are content to pay $1000 for it (or some insurers, which is a separate issue).  Indeed, some people are happy to pay even MORE for it; getting away with just $1000 to save their lives or live without pain is a BARGAIN for those willing to pay $2000 instead.  (This savings is called “consumer surplus”, and only totalitarians think consumer gains are bad.)

High prices signal the worth of a product or service.  In a free market, a price can only be sustained because consumers want it.  That only well-off consumers can afford it is not the business of capitalism; allowing more people to obtain a drug priced beyond their means is a WELFARE function that private welfare and government welfare can carry out.

What capitalism does, and what high prices signal is sublime: that OTHER manufacturers should get into the business.  That creates the competition that yields more choice in cures, and lowers prices for patients.  Progressives don’t realize the beauty of this: with nary a command, nor even a suggestion by government, invisibly, the Free Market lets manufacturers develop what consumers need.

Patents complicate this only slightly.  A 17 year exclusivity patent is the well-deserved protection we give for an inventor to disclose his work, develop it, and make profit during the remaining years.  (FDA scrutiny and the rigorous testing needs with life-and-death drugs lessen recoupment time to about 7 – 10 years).  Even if one monopolist has a patent, the high price signals that other manufacturers, without violating the patent, would profit by working around the patent to develop similar cures.   And if they can’t work around it, they still can get ready for that 17 year period to expire.

This is fair and wise.  Without patent protection, few companies would race to develop cures on their own.  Consumers at least have a drug available, albeit at a high price.  That’s better than NO drug, which nations that lack strong patent laws face. 

This is the problem with progressive thought – too often it’s based on feeling.  We all feel bad for good people who can’t afford a salubrious drug.  The progressive calls the recouping manufacturer “greedy”; the capitalist knows that this greed is GOOD, for it inspires more manufacturers to produce similar drugs that drive down process.  This “greed” yields the drug in the first place.  And this “greed” keeps scientists working on Americans’ behalf to make the NEXT cures.

If the government wants to put these medicines in the hands of people who have a hard time affording them, the government can do so, as a welfare program.  It can buy the pills and distribute them as it sees fit. 

But there are perils whenever a government takes on distribution.  Efficiency sinks; fairness is jeopardized.  Most importantly, lobbyists for certain subgroups spring up.  It is far more moral to let private commerce distribute privately-produced goods.  The Free Market is the consumer’s best friend, and capitalism is charity’s best donor.

Now, to insurance.  Want to cut the price of important cures?  End government subsidies.  The reason Gilead prices an inexpensive to produce drug at $1000 is BECAUSE IT CAN.  Insurance reimbursements support a large portion of this price.  These subsidies are free money to the drug-makers.  The subsidies are exceptionally contorted in the Medicare/Medicaid/ObamaCare labyrinth.  We should replace Medicare and ObamaCare with a beautiful concept: the Free Market.  When consumers, rather than state-defined “cost codes”, pay for their cures , drug companies will price less oppressively.  Progressives who continue to prefer state involvement in our health care are doomed to see “unfair” pricing.  Let the Free Market drive prices down, and let a remnant Medicaid for the truly indigent purchase these drugs for its needy clients.
 

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