House GOP’s Healthy Future
House Republicans have begun rolling out proposals from their Healthy Future Task Force.
The policy initiatives from the Treatments Subcommittee promote medical innovation, expedite patient access to new drugs and devices, bolster U.S. medical manufacturing, shorten and shore up reliable supply chains, and reduce patients’ drug costs.
Among other things, Medicare beneficiaries would gain an out-of-pocket cap on their drug spending. They’d spread out drug costs over a year. Seniors would share drug discounts at the pharmacy, once health plan incentives align to share their privately agreed-upon savings.
The GOP task force’s health policy efforts build on existing legislation, such as H.R. 19. They’re further developed from a market-based, proinnovation, private-sector-oriented, consumer choice and competition perspective.
In other words, the healthy future House Republicans envision stands in stark contrast to the Biden administration’s big-government, overly regulatory, punitive, restrictive, price-controls approach to health care—well, Biden’s, Pelosi’s and Schumer’s approach to everything!
One of the Republican proposals would block the use of a cruel tool of socialized health systems. Budget-fixated government bureaucrats use QALYs to rationalize denying needed medical treatment to patients in the most need.
The inhumane cruelty that governments' medical-rationing decisions are based on is “quality adjusted life years.” In English, that means if you’re too old, too young or too sick, health system bureaucrats tell you to “drop dead,” literally.
Canadian, European and other government-controlled health systems set artificially low prices on medical goods and services. These socialist medical systems then ration access to medical care as a means of coldly denying medicines and treatments that could cure, heal or protect patients in need.
The United States has seen similar playing of God by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, or ICER. One critic observes, “The greatest flaw by far in the QALY methodology is the subjective threshold value attached to a year of perfect health.”
Similarly, inhumane bureaucrats employ the fraud of “comparative effectiveness.” This means if there’s a drug or device available for a condition or disease, a new one must be comparably priced and deliver vastly stronger clinical results—despite the fact that a new entrant causes competition. Bureaucrats aren’t above manipulating clinical data to get the results they want for budget targets.
Energy & Commerce Ranking Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers has introduced the Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act. This bill would prohibit use of QALYs in any federal health program.
Why’s that important? Take a young couple expecting a baby being told of underdevelopment of the fetus’s brain. Doctors don’t know if the baby will survive very long after birth, be responsive or display personality. The brave, loving parents have the baby, who requires several surgeries. A birthday later, that loved child smiles, vocalizes responses, touches sensibly—in short, brings joy to a home that didn’t know what life might be like. Whatever the outcome, they have a precious human being who bears God’s image.
Government discrimination against medically vulnerable citizens may save money, but it morally and qualitatively impoverishes a nation and its people. That’s much too costly.
As P.J. O'Rourke said, “If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free.” Barring QALYs, price controls and rigid “comparative effectiveness” metrics from U.S. coverage and access decisions would ensure patients, doctors and innovation hold priority over number-crunching budgeteers.
If American voters turn Congress over to Republicans this fall, the new majority will be prepared with sound, constructive health policies that put patients ahead of unelected government bureaucrats, protect innovation and respect private property rights.