Tag Archives: Institute for Liberty

Maryland’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Rx Prescription

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Counterfeit Medicine RealClearHealth, 4/06/2017

No patient should have to worry that their state legislators will purposely limit their access to necessary medications. However, this is the precise scenario playing out in Annapolis, Maryland this week. Lawmakers – perhaps with good intentions – are moving a bill through the State House that is reckless public policy and that will threaten the lives and healthcare for all Marylanders.

The bill – H.B. 631 –  allows the government to impose costs and regulatory burdens whenever bureaucrats believe that pricing of a medicine is “not justified.” However, the legislation, now being considered in the state Senate, sets no objective standard or legal threshold by which a judge or a healthcare provider can know what “not justified” means.

This legislation dangerously expands the power of the state’s Attorney General to interfere in the marketplace in such a way as to threaten competition. H.B. 631 will do nothing to offer relief to patients – it won’t lower prices. On the contrary, this bill will drive generic drug companies out of Maryland. By boosting the Attorney General’s power to “investigate” drug prices, politicians in Annapolis are advancing a course of action that will have the unintended consequence of reducing competition and, therefore, limiting patient access to medicines and medical therapies.

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Elected officials “doing something” about the high cost of healthcare seems like good politics, but this “doing something” is bad medicine for patients. Marylanders deserve better than counterfeit reform.

The public debate over the cost of medicine isn’t new. Nor is political grandstanding on the issue. With H.B. 631, Maryland lawmakers from both political parties –  the House of Delegates voted overwhelmingly, 137-4, to pass this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad bill – have chosen politics over policy.

Maryland lawmakers craving the momentary praise from the media and activists are putting their constituents’ health at risk. Their attempt at bureaucratic price manipulation will hurt all patients, but such political meddling will be devastating for Maryland’s sickest and poorest patients.

This legislation will do nothing to lower the cost of prescription medicines. It will undoubtedly have the exact opposite effect. If fewer affordable generic medicines are available in Maryland, patients suffer and healthcare costs will skyrocket.

The competitive marketplace of generic medicines substantially drives down drug prices for patients.  Generic medicines saved Maryland $3.7 billion in 2015. Nationwide these medicines are 89% of prescriptions dispensed, but only 27% of total drug costs resulting in $227 billion in total savings in 2015. The overall price of generics fell over 8% in 2016, and prices are down over 70% since 2008.

Drug companies make easy targets, and healthcare policy is complicated. H.B. 631 is a short-sighted, political fix that will undermine competitive pricing and threaten patient care. It will inevitably increase drug prices and give Maryland the ignoble distinction of being first in the nation to deliberately push generics out of the marketplace.

The politics of supporting H.B. 631 is intuitively appealing; however, its promise of controlling drug prices is dangerously dishonest. When it predictably fails—and it increases the cost of medicine—will the politicians take responsibility? Or, will they look for another easy target to blame?

Better value and lower prices for medicines can be achieved without compromising patient access. But instead of exercising greater control over the marketplace, true reformers should focus on innovation and competition.

Here’s what to expect if H.B. 631 becomes law: less competition in the generic drug market which will lead to higher prices, limited access, and less choice. Patients won’t be able to obtain the life-saving medications they need.

Jerry Rogers is vice president at the Institute for Liberty and the founder of Capitol Allies. Andrew Langer is president of the Institute for Liberty and a principal at Capitol Allies. Both host a weekly podcast, the LangerCast, on the RELM Network.

10 Regulatory Recommendations for Trump Administration

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Though discussed for many years, it is only in the last decade that regulatory impacts have been seen by the mainstream political establishment as a driving factor in the health of the US economy—impacting our jobs, our competitiveness, and a host of other societal concerns (including the vitality of the middle class).  10 Regulatory Recommendations for the Trump Admin are some of the Institute for Liberty’s recommendations on the issue, and we offer them with one important caveat: There are no silver bullets when it comes to reducing regulatory costs! Regulatory costs have grown steadily since 1970 (though those costs have accelerated since 2007), and while many focus on so-called “major rules” (costing the economy $100 million or more annually), the bulk of regulatory burdens come from the cumulative effect of much-smaller mandates. Evidence shows that by even making modest changes in regulatory costs, massive economic gains can be had. But regardless of whether these changes are minor or major, regulatory reform must be an essential element of the incoming administration’s economic policies if they want to jump-start the economy and put Americans back to work.

These recommendations cover a wide range of tools that the incoming administration can utilize to have a fundamental impact on the regulatory state.

NewsBreaker: Philly Grocery Tax is Bad Education Policy

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Mayor Jim Kenney (D-Philadelphia) is pushing a regressive beverage tax which targets his city’s poorest residents. The Mayor claims his tax will raise $400 million to fund myriad government programs, including universal Pre-K. The problem is the Mayor’s plan is doomed to fail. It’s a false promise.

Education experts are unanimous on the point that the first and best teachers are parents and caregivers. However, the Mayor’s tax increase will force Philly parents to work harder and longer to pay their bills and taxes. Working longer hours means less time with their children.

In this special “News Breaker” segment, The LangerCast is joined by the Heritage Foundation’s Lindsey Burke.  Lindsey discusses the Philly tax in the context of education policy, and it’s not surprising that Mayor Kenney’s proposal receives a Failing Grade when it comes to what’s best for Philly’s students and their families.

Lindsey is a distinguished expert on education policy, and her work has appeared in a wide array of national media outlets, including The Atlantic, Time, Newsweek, The Boston Herald, The Star-Ledger, The Washington Examiner, The Washington Times, The Daily Caller, National Review Online as well as CNN and Fox News Channel.

Click here to Listen to our Special News Breaker segment: LangerCastNewsBreaker: Philly Tax is bad Education Policy

A Total Collapse in the Labor Force Participation Rate

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5.9% versus 62.7%: The Spin versus the Truth

By Jerry Rogers

At Northwestern University last week, President Obama said we are better off than we were six years ago; and the September Jobs Report—at first glance—supports the President’s assertion. With 248,000 new jobs added to the economy, things appear to be on the upswing.

However, while the keepers of conventional wisdom celebrate the 5.9 percent unemployment rate, the economy continues to sputter. The pundits gladly report on the 248,000 Americans who found jobs—good news! What they’re not reporting is the disturbing news of more than 300,000 Americans who have quit the work force; people who have given up and dropped out.

The unemployment rate dropped because more people simply gave up looking for jobs. The labor force participation rate in September fell to 62.7 percent, a level not seen since 1978. 92.6 million Americans are not participating in the work force!

Too many Americans are still working jobs for which they are overqualified, and wages are still lagging behind the rising costs for housing, healthcare, education, groceries, and energy. More than 500,000 full-time jobs have been replaced by 800,000 part-time jobs since the great recession, the highest increase in part-time employment since 1993.

More than five years after the recession ended, we’re still living in a feeble economy.

 

Jerry Rogers is vice president at the Institute for Liberty and the founder of Capitol Allies, an independent, nonpartisan effort that promotes entrepreneurship, economic growth, and free enterprise.