By Alan Caruba
I know spring has arrived because my seasonal allergy has returned. When it goes from winter to spring and sometimes fall to winter, I suffer all the usual symptoms. It happened last night, but I got up and took a Claritin pill and was able to survive the first attack. I renewed my supply today, giving thanks for Schering-Plough, the pharmaceutical company that spent millions to invent this drug.
No one ever talks about the millions pharmaceutical companies spend on “research and development”, nor the fact that for every new drug they discover there are any number that simply do not make it to the medical community or the shelves of your local pharmacy.
Yes, these companies do reap profits, but they need them in order to continue looking for the next new drug. They need those millions to get through the onerous and costly Food and Drug Agency’s approval process.
The Heartland Institute has published “More Choices, Better Health” a booklet ($2.95) by Bartley J. Madden, an independent researcher, about the FDA monopoly on which drugs make it to the marketplace and which do not.
Madden points out that we have grown accustomed to the monopoly, “but prior to 1962, new drugs had to pass only safety trials to be legally marketed.” It was left to physicians and consumers to determine how effective they were.
Today, it is a three-step process that takes an average of 8.5 years! If you want to know why drugs cost so much more, try calculating the millions involved in the R&D phase that is then followed by the millions that the approval phase costs.
In addition to an insane budget that Barack Obama wants the Congress to approve—one that will drive the nation’s spending through the ceiling and imposes huge deficits for years to come—the other item on his wish list is healthcare coverage for those people who are not insured.
This does not mean they will not be cared for if they are ill. The law requires that hospitals tend to the ill even if they arrive penniless and quite a few do. As often as not, they are illegal aliens.
The figure we keep hearing is that “46 million” Americans are uninsured. In a recent American Spectator article, Philip Klein dissected “The Myth of the 46 Million.” The figure comes from the Census Bureau in 2007.
As Klein points out, statistics can lie and liars can use statistics. For example, the same data shows “that 9.7 million of the uninsured are not citizens of the United States.”
The reality is that the Census Bureau made a guess about the number of people without health insurance and the figure they cited “more closely approximates the number of people who are uninsured at a specific point during the year” such as those between jobs that provide such insurance and “the number of people uninsured for the entire year.”
That brings the number closer to between 31 and 21 million people. At least 18.3 million of the uninsured were under 34, an age group that might conclude they are healthy enough to do without the cost of coverage.
A BlueCross BlueShield study determined that 8.2 million Americans are without coverage for the long haul because they are too poor to purchase health care insurance, but earn too much to qualify for government assistance. Remember, though, they too will receive health care when they show up at the emergency room.
The law requires that no one in need is ever turned away unless, of course, they showed up at the hospital for which Michelle Obama was formerly an executive. She devised a plan to send the poor to other hospitals in Chicago.
We have now come a long, long way from the “46 million” that Barack Obama and news media keep repeating.
What they don’t tell you, however, is just how astonishingly bad universal healthcare as practiced in England and Canada can be. In a recent article in Health Care News, a monthly Heartland Institute publication, Devon Herrick , a senior fellow and health care economist with the National Center for Policy Analysis, noted that in Canada, “at any given time, nearly 750,000 Canadians are waiting for a medical procedure. According to a report by the Commonwealth Fund, 42% of Canadians with chronic illnesses said they had to wait more than two months to see a specialist.”
The one thing that will ensure health care providers will provide the best care at the lowest price is the competition based on price and quality that is the hallmark of a free market economy.
It’s socialists like Obama who keep insisting that the government has to determine who gets health care, what kind of health care they receive, and how much hospitals and physicians can charge for it.
As Herrick says, “Instead of wasting time on a system that limits our choices, creates long waiting times, and can jeopardize our health, the United States should opt for a system of innovation and choice.”
Instead, Obama wants the government to creep ever more into every aspect of your life, every choice you make about anything essential to your well being, and to begin pre-school programs to indoctrinate your toddlers while requiring older ones enroll in “volunteer” programs that are anything but voluntary.
In October 2010, U.S. voters will have an opportunity to take control of Congress away from the Democrats and make Obama wait two years while he is rendered unable to do any more harm.
To enjoy the cartoon better, click on it to enlarge the image