Will ObamaCare threaten medical innovation?

posted at 12:00 pm on July 12, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Glenn Reynolds argues that the wait lines for treatments in a single-payer system are not the biggest concern.  In a Washington Examiner column, Glenn relates personal stories of how his family members have benefited from innovation in medical treatments, and how the market plays a big role in providing incentives for it.  When government makes all the decisions on health care, will those same incentives exist?

The normal critique of socialized medicine is to point out that people have to wait a long time for these kinds of treatments in places like Britain. And that’s certainly a valid critique. I’m sure my mom and daughter would still be waiting for their treatments, while my father and wife would probably be dead.

The key point, though, is that these treatments didn’t just come out out of the blue. They were developed by drug companies and device makers who thought they had a good market for things that would make people feel better.

But under a national healthcare plan, the “market” will consist of whatever the bureaucrats are willing to buy. That means treatment for politically stylish diseases will get some money, but otherwise the main concern will be cost-control. More treatments, to bureaucrats, mean more costs.

It doesn’t always work that way, of course. The rise of proton-pump inhibitors like Nexium or Prilosec has made ulcer surgery a thing of the past. But to the bureaucratic mindset, those pills are a cost, and ulcer-surgery expenses can be dealt with by rationing. Let ‘em eat Maalox while they wait.

I exaggerate, but . . . well, maybe I don’t. The truth is, despite the great promise of new medical technology out there now, in terms of new cancer treatments, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and more, the potential marvels of the next twenty years will never be developed unless some developer thinks there’s a market.

It should be pointed out that governments fund medical research as well, but those funds tend towards politically-expedient research on issues where private incentives don’t exist.  That’s one of the reasons why people pushed so hard for federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research.  The private sector had focused on adult stem-cell research as more effective and promising for actual treatments, leaving hEsc studies to wither.

That argument cuts both ways on this debate, except when looking at results.  No therapies have been developed from hEsc research, while dozens of therapies have resulted from adult stem-cell research.  The market rewards success and penalizes failure on its own terms without accounting for political tastes.  By allowing venture capital to make its own decisions on investment, it also gives a wide variety of opportunities for research and development by allowing the investors to focus on projects like artificial hips and pacemakers, radioactive seed implants for cancer treatment, and so on.

Federal and state funding plays a major role in medical research as well; no one can seriously argue otherwise.  However, the issue that determines whether that research occurs at all is whether patients will pay for the treatments.  If government, in full cost-saving mode, decides that paying for the more expensive new therapies doesn’t meet its “comparative effectiveness” criteria, then the absence of other payers in a market will mean that the technology never gets developed at all.  Investors will not sink cash into such research without a market ready to adopt the end product, and government — with its focus on saving costs and paying for an entire nation’s health care — won’t have the cash to plow into experimentation any longer.

This will mean a great loss not just for the US but also for the rest of the world.  Our medical research produces innovations like no other nation can, and without it, we will freeze the art of medicine in place at 2009.

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yes

rob verdi on July 12, 2009 at 12:04 PM

Hope ‘n change!

JAM on July 12, 2009 at 12:05 PM

have you been to drudge? eric holder is at it again!

Ghoul aid on July 12, 2009 at 12:06 PM

Single payer care is why people come from all over the world to the Mayo Clinic in Brandon, Manitoba.

Oh, wait.

Mitch_Berg on July 12, 2009 at 12:07 PM

Most all the world pays a marginal cost for drugs, medical devices, and procedures that does not come close to repaying the development effort that went into those products. Further, most of the world has regimented medical systems that have very strong immune systems against any sort of innovation.

As a result, almost all medical innovation occurs and is paid for in the United States, with the rest of the world acting as a free rider

JiangxiDad on July 12, 2009 at 12:07 PM

Yes. Of course it will.

The government is always quantity over quality.

What we will see is government contracting for all medical/pharmaceutical products and medicines. Innovative companies will be shut out of the process simply because they refuse to meet the ridiculously low price requirements. You can get a Rx, but it might not be as good as the best one available. You may get your MRI read – after a long delay – but you may not get it read correctly.

That won’t bother Uncle Sam whatsoever — as long as he can say “but you were covered!”

sara in va on July 12, 2009 at 12:10 PM

I am in constant awe over the advancements in the field of medicine. The things we can do today that we couldn’t do 10, 20, 30 and beyond years ago is just amazing.

Anyone who believes that will continue under ObamaCare is a fool.

myrenovations on July 12, 2009 at 12:11 PM

They’ll turn medical care into NASA. We landed on the moon 40 years ago and haven’t had any similar quantum leaps since. NASA is now a bunch of play it safe CYA bureaucrats. It’s actually be LESS safe but that’s always what government does.

Mojave Mark on July 12, 2009 at 12:15 PM

Keep the govt. out of decisions regarding my treatment, please. Strongly opposed to govt. healthcare.

We do need to balance this argument with more education, informed consent etc. but that’s another topic.

cs89 on July 12, 2009 at 12:17 PM

Any technology that could replace a bureaucrat will be blocked by the leftocrats

welcome to universal hell-care

blatantblue on July 12, 2009 at 12:18 PM

No it will not threaten innovation.It will destroy it hook line and sinker you can bank on it.

thmcbb on July 12, 2009 at 12:19 PM

Hey Ed,
I’ll seldom criticize for content, esp. when you’re apparently alone, but…
How come no tribute to Tony?

jerrytbg on July 12, 2009 at 12:22 PM

Will ObamaCare threaten medical innovation?

Oh…in a word… YES!!!

jerrytbg on July 12, 2009 at 12:23 PM

Technical support for heart lung machines, reading of MRI’s and CT scans will be outsourced to India because the companies will not be able to support anyone in-house or on the ground with the reimbursement they will receive.

Drug and medical research will be directed in what ever way the government feels is necessary, such as a way to make everyone apathetic and submissive to government control.

Healthcare will go in the toilet in this country.

Do you remember the actress that died recently because they didn’t have a CT scanner available in Canada, think about that and then multiply it.

workingforpigs on July 12, 2009 at 12:24 PM

The rise of proton-pump inhibitors like Nexium or Prilosec has made ulcer surgery a thing of the past.

Not under this Administration. My heartburn has been raging this past week, the Nexium dose has been doubled.

I blame it on the insanity I see coming out of the White House and Congress.

Belch!

Knucklehead on July 12, 2009 at 12:24 PM

The left will not stop until they control every last freedom we have,this is not a secret,Obama told everyone what he was going to do during the election,Why are we so surprised at where our country is headed.
The only way to stop the leftwing insanity is to stick together and vote these people out or pay dearly, its up to us!

Roadking85 on July 12, 2009 at 12:27 PM

Get ready for medical innovation to go to China…

catlady on July 12, 2009 at 12:33 PM

That’s why people fly from all over the world to the Mayo Clinic in Winnipeg.

Oh, wait.

Mitch_Berg on July 12, 2009 at 12:34 PM

Medical Research will become another arm of the government, killing off yet another private industry.

southsideironworks on July 12, 2009 at 12:37 PM

oh a big yes! Of course it will. The US is THE center of medical innovation.

The irony is of course the new developing techniques including gene therapy which target individuals, will cease to exist IMO.

TOTUS wont pay for an MRI or a cardiac catheterization, why the hell would he pay for individual gene therapy? HA!!

Take for example the prostate screening exam Medicare just denied. It is far beter, less invasive. As its use increased due to economies of scale the price would go down.

But the use will never increase b/c Medicare has denied reimbursement for it. Sadly many odler men will not get screened and will perhaps die of prostate cancer instead of being pesky and living longer after the less invasive new form of screening.

This will save TOTUS dough on SS and Medicare, and thus meet his promised cost cuts.

this times thousands, all over…less research, less development, less cures, less technology…

sickening, morally and physically

ginaswo on July 12, 2009 at 12:38 PM

and the ironic part of that was that my former fellow DEMS all railed for stem cell research to cure things and now the expensive cures that result will not be covered anyway…

waste of lives on both ends of the spectrum

ginaswo on July 12, 2009 at 12:39 PM

Get ready for medical innovation to go to China…

catlady on July 12, 2009 at 12:33 PM

Great….tincture of rino horn and boiled head of drunk.

Limerick on July 12, 2009 at 12:46 PM

Of course it will. But, don’t worry we have a new Science Czar that will make any need for medical innovations unnecessary.

Hobbes on July 12, 2009 at 12:47 PM

If you like the VA,Med.care and Social Sec.and think they are run just fine with very little mistakes and cost eff.My friends you are going to LOVE the new Obama health care.Top health care for all except for members of congress and best of all it will save tons of money only the very rich will pay for it.Obama what a Guy.

thmcbb on July 12, 2009 at 12:48 PM

I’m off to the BBQ to attempt to clog another artery.

Limerick on July 12, 2009 at 12:54 PM

Lefties always think things like “wealth” and “health care” just exist as a birth right and it’s only a matter of how to divvy it up. Never consider that government meddling will always stifle growth and innovation.

forest on July 12, 2009 at 12:55 PM

Gun control isn’t about guns, it’s about control.
Cap and trade isn’t about the climate, it’s about control.
Obamacare isn’t about health care, it’s about control.

Anyone else see a trend in all these leftist programs?

Rebar on July 12, 2009 at 12:59 PM

Not under this Administration. My heartburn has been raging this past week, the Nexium dose has been doubled.

I blame it on the insanity I see coming out of the White House and Congress.

Belch!

Knucklehead on July 12, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Since I quit smoking and drinking I don’t have heartburn or indigestion, just anxiety attack. >_<

thomasaur on July 12, 2009 at 1:02 PM

One of the most extraordinary articles I can ever recall for it’s candor and honesty. This will be analyzed and talk about for a long time to come. I urge everyone to red it very carefully and pass it on to everybody they know. I’m still in a state of semi-shock over it:

Sarah ‘Barracuda’ Palin and the Piranhas of the Press

TheBigOldDog on July 12, 2009 at 1:02 PM

Gun control isn’t about guns, it’s about control.
Cap and trade isn’t about the climate, it’s about control.
Obamacare isn’t about health care, it’s about control.

Anyone else see a trend in all these leftist programs?

Rebar on July 12, 2009 at 12:59 PM

YES, and to the question:
Will ObamaCare threaten medical innovation?

H*LL YES!!

Colbyjack on July 12, 2009 at 1:03 PM

Obumbler’s policies threatens innovation in all areas. Why invest, work long hours, and maybe, just maybe make some money to have the government take it all.

jukin on July 12, 2009 at 1:04 PM

Lets not forget that if the government is in charge of healthcare, then the decison on who gets it could depend on your political party. The elderly could be denied treatments that could be life threatening. What child could see their parent die needlessly because of a bureaucrat’s incompetence. It could bankrupt the innocent as well as cost the lives of the innocent. Its all in the liberals’ obsession to control.

volsense on July 12, 2009 at 1:05 PM

Medical research is one thing….spending millions or billions of dollars to commercialize the promising research is an entirely different matter and that is done exclusively by the private sector. Lacking the perception of a robust upside, the private sector will not make those risky investments.

David in ATL on July 12, 2009 at 1:07 PM

Lefties always think things like “wealth” and “health care” just exist as a birth right and it’s only a matter of how to divvy it up. Never consider that government meddling will always stifle growth and innovation.

forest on July 12, 2009 at 12:55 PM

Worse, the realization – the harder I squeeze, the less I get! – absolutely enrages them. Makes them bonkers. Makes them want to grab some CEOs and some other John Galts, strip them naked, tie them to a dog-sled and yell “Mush!” Talk about taking freedoms away…

RD on July 12, 2009 at 1:09 PM

thmcbb on July 12, 2009 at 12:48 PM

The trouble with your denigrating VA healthcare is that for some of us…it works.
It’s as good as the Pru policy I had back in the 70’s.

jerrytbg on July 12, 2009 at 1:10 PM

we will freeze the art of medicine in place at 2009.

We should be so lucky. It’s more likely that we will revert to “less expensive” therapies from the past (if we aren’t deemed too elderly to deserve any treatment at all).

Buy Danish on July 12, 2009 at 1:10 PM

Yes, of course it will.

The “comparative effectiveness” of new therapies will be assessed by the same ‘scientists’ who bring you AGW.

With rationing, you’ll be urged to show your patriotism by dying before social security kicks in.

petefrt on July 12, 2009 at 1:13 PM

Get ready for medical innovation to go to China…

catlady on July 12, 2009 at 12:33 PM
Great….tincture of rino horn and boiled head of drunk.

Limerick on July 12, 2009 at 12:46 PM

But there are all kinds of organs availble for transplants.

I have friends in Hong Kong who are afraid to walk the streets. But it keeps the convict population steady.

This may be a thought for California’s budget crisis.

IlikedAUH2O on July 12, 2009 at 1:13 PM

Question that should be forcibly put to every citizen who is in favor of this Fed power grab.

Name *one* medical discovery in the last 20 years that came from somewhere other than the U.S., that involved no input from the U.S.

Our medical system is radical, being based not on trying to “spread the wealth around” but rather on trying to create *new* wealth by figuring out how to do new things, to solve problems that other scientists and “expects” have said can’t be solved.

Mew

acat on July 12, 2009 at 1:21 PM

The idea that only drugs or devices that work best for most people should be the only ones prescribed is much like saying that women’s shoes should only be sold in sizes 7–10; if you need a size 6 or 11, that’s too bad because those sizes don’t fit the majority of women… Maybe your device is the equivalent of the size 6 shoe. And perhaps it costs more than the size 8. With those two strikes against it, you need a strategy for getting your message out to patients, clinicians, and the council…At the end of the day, if your product can’t rise to the top, it may affect your company’s ability to survive at all.

From an editorial called “Sizing Up Comparative Effectiveness” in Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry Magazine… it’s directed toward device makers, of course, but it’s relevant to all of us, because we all benefit from the innovations that these companies are producing.

IU_Conservative on July 12, 2009 at 1:22 PM

Amputation. It is cheaper to amputate than do repair and reconstruction after a wound and go back several times for plastic surgery. I have not seen any one post this. Breast cancer. If a woman has it, they can recommend doing both. A bilateral mastectomy prevents a recurrence expense for breast cancer. Remember they have your charts and history and your relatives histories on their GE Intel data base. I had an employee obtain a reduction mammalplasty on our company plan. Not with Obama. There is no “medical” call for such. Obamascare will be worse for women than men.

seven on July 12, 2009 at 1:33 PM

Can anyone point to any medical innovations that have come from one of these universal healthcare countries?

I would say that this argument is proven fact. All the world has relied for years on the United States medical research and development.

conservnut on July 12, 2009 at 1:38 PM

Not only will medical technology and pharma R & D be “frozen in 2009″ as Ed says, students who would otherwise pursue a career in medicine, medical technology and other health-science related fields will be going to B school and law school.

No one needs to borrow the kind of money that a medical education requires to go into a field where the upside is capped by the government.

I think that people who rant against big pharma need to boycott its products.

molonlabe28 on July 12, 2009 at 1:47 PM

Our medical system is radical, being based not on trying to “spread the wealth around” but rather on trying to create *new* wealth by figuring out how to do new things, to solve problems that other scientists and “expects” have said can’t be solved.

Mew

acat on July 12, 2009 at 1:21 PM

Actually I think that statement better represents some Asian nations, at least in technology in general. We tend to be a bit flighty and if a discovery doesn’t produce real world applications quickly enough we place it on a back burner, while other nations will pick it up and invest in the technology until it matures.

DFCtomm on July 12, 2009 at 1:49 PM

All the medical venture capital will run overseas to where research is profitable. In other words, places freer than America.

Akzed on July 12, 2009 at 2:47 PM

I work for a small international hospital management company and we are getting more calls for our “expertise” in setting up quality hospitals in foreign countries than we ever received prior to “O you’re so wrong”. Other countries see the capitalist health care system working and are staging in order to capture the millions of people who will seek care elsewhere once ours is dismantled.

Countries also are trying to lure scientists, pharmacists and drug companies out of the US. Innovation will still be there, but it won’t come from the US.

hip shot on July 12, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Will ObamaCare threaten medical innovation?

Do liberals love litigation?

Does a bear crap in the woods?

Want to improve health care? Want it to be a lot cheaper?

Get liberals and lawyers the hell out of it!

Speakup on July 12, 2009 at 3:18 PM

Of course it will. When I mention that to people who are totally for this moronic legislation, they just wave their hands and shrug.
Apparently the fact that I WORK in healthcare means little to the subliterate who works nowhere near healthcare.

I don’t really care anymore. People want crappy socialised medicine? Fine. They won’t like it once they get it.

mjk on July 12, 2009 at 3:25 PM

Please forgive my reference to Oprah, but a few months ago she had a show on aging and how there is a group in NC (I think) who are learning how to extract all the cells from an organ, inject it with cells from a human patient and “grow” that organ for that specific human in about 3 weeks. There will be no need for the major doses of meds to prevent rejection as this organ will be identical in makeup to the patient. These programs are very promising. I would hate to see the government step in and prevent companies like these from advancing medicine.

http://www.teapartynation.com

tnmama on July 12, 2009 at 3:28 PM

Investors will not sink cash into such research without a market ready to adopt the end product, and government — with its focus on saving costs and paying for an entire nation’s health care — won’t have the cash to plow into experimentation any longer.

Who pays today? Either insurance companies or private parties. Private parties won’t disappear under Obama’s plan, i.e. people with money will be able to buy health care. Insurance company? Is that for real? Insurance companies are not focusing every single day on saving costs?

We seem to live in some altered reality where Insurance companies are generous, non profit, willing to lose money, always out there trying to meet patients needs, etc.

mycowardice on July 12, 2009 at 3:35 PM

Can anyone point to any medical innovations that have come from one of these universal healthcare countries?

I would say that this argument is proven fact. All the world has relied for years on the United States medical research and development.

conservnut on July 12, 2009 at 1:38 PM

Can you point me to any country that has do as much as us with respect to space exploration and similar discoveries? I guess it’s a proven fact that the world has relied for years on publicly funded US space related programs.

mycowardice on July 12, 2009 at 3:37 PM

I agree with Ed’s analysis completely, but he doesn’t go far enough with the consequences.

Since medical advancement will come to a nearly complete stop, that means that millions of people will die in the future before their time, just because the Obama crowd likes to control things. That includes everybody in your family. Many of them will die years before they need to. Perhaps even you.

And that is just counting the people who will die because an advancement that otherwise would be developed, isn’t.

Even more people will die because of rationing.

Universal Health Care is essentially a war on the elderly. Years of the lives of elderly people who worked industriously for decades and who paid for Medicare and expect quality care for their trouble will be traded for the votes of people who don’t want to work hard and earn a fair living. And the casualties in the war will quickly surpass all of the wars that this country has every fought. Chances are you or your spouse will be one of those casualties.

notagool on July 12, 2009 at 4:14 PM

seven on July 12, 2009 at 1:33 PM

So sad and so close to the truth… it’s hard to see it any other way…

Can anyone point to any medical innovations that have come from one of these universal healthcare countries?
I would say that this argument is proven fact. All the world has relied for years on the United States medical research and development.
conservnut on July 12, 2009 at 1:38 PM

Point well taken…that’s why I’m advocating the status quo…
I don’t want to loose the care I get at the VA…
If the “0” and his minions get their way, ALL healthcare in the US will suffer and all those innovations will dry up…in the US…

I work for a small international hospital management company and we are getting more calls for our “expertise” in setting up quality hospitals in foreign countries than we ever received prior to “O you’re so wrong”. Other countries see the capitalist health care system working and are staging in order to capture the millions of people who will seek care elsewhere once ours is dismantled.
Countries also are trying to lure scientists, pharmacists and drug companies out of the US. Innovation will still be there, but it won’t come from the US.
hip shot on July 12, 2009 at 3:14 PM

This would be inevitable…your post and what it reveals doesn’t surprise me….

Get liberals and lawyers the hell out of it!
Speakup on July 12, 2009 at 3:18 PM

These two actions are the only one’s that are necessary…
Such a simple solution …but no one is listening.

jerrytbg on July 12, 2009 at 5:27 PM

Will ObamaCare threaten medical innovation?

Will pouring liquid nitrogen on a fire put it out?

Dark-Star on July 12, 2009 at 6:49 PM

“Will ObamaCare threaten medical innovation?”

I don’t know. You are the reporter, why don’t you tell me?

Kevin M on July 12, 2009 at 7:13 PM

We seem to live in some altered reality where Insurance companies are generous, non profit, willing to lose money, always out there trying to meet patients needs, etc.

mycowardice on July 12, 2009 at 3:35 PM

Even if the “public option” is “willing to lose money”, whose money is it to begin with? The public’s, you idiot. Do you not think your taxes will go up if the program starts to run in the red?

It’s official, you people are braindead.

Can you point me to any country that has do as much as us with respect to space exploration and similar discoveries? I guess it’s a proven fact that the world has relied for years on publicly funded US space related programs.

mycowardice on July 12, 2009 at 3:37 PM

Another idiotic statement without any context. Clearly, there is a role for government in funding basic research and the applications of that research of the sort that led to the space program. The amount of capital required and the payoff time horizon makes it unlikely that even the most efficient capital markets can raise that kind of money with that kind of time horizon. However, it is also pretty clear that the commercialization of space by private entities will happen and that once it does, it would be very likely that private entities with a profit motive will be able to push the ball further and faster, building off the basic research and successes of the original government-funded space program. Without a proper appreciation of the time horizons involved in anything related to space, your comparison seems relevant. With that appreciation, it’s clear that you’re nowhere near an apples to apples comparison. What this article is arguing is that by taking away the downstream profits that result from building off the government’s basic research results, you will reduce the number of individuals and companies willing to take that risk.

I can’t believe it’s 2009 and this STILL has to be explained to people.

venividivici on July 12, 2009 at 7:52 PM

I agree with Ed’s analysis completely, but he doesn’t go far enough with the consequences.

Since medical advancement will come to a nearly complete stop, that means that millions of people will die in the future before their time, just because the Obama crowd likes to control things. That includes everybody in your family. Many of them will die years before they need to. Perhaps even you.

And that is just counting the people who will die because an advancement that otherwise would be developed, isn’t.

Even more people will die because of rationing.

I agree; however, simply arguing the end game is incomplete as well. Health care encompasses more than lifespan, it includes quality of life. Acutely, there’d be little impact and little rationing as the system adjusted–and the administration would pounce on that as clear success. However, healthcare providers would begin to retire early, innovation would slow and effectiveness reasearch wouldn’t focus on QOL issues; they’d focus on cost control issues. They already do in many areas–we study the ways and means to do more with less and less care. That’s both a good and a bad thing. It’s good to increase efficiency; but it’s bad insofar as it gradually limits care–think getting kicked out of the hospital 2 days after you’re released from ICU and can’t walk straight. See ya!

Universal Health Care is essentially a war on the elderly. Years of the lives of elderly people who worked industriously for decades and who paid for Medicare and expect quality care for their trouble will be traded for the votes of people who don’t want to work hard and earn a fair living. And the casualties in the war will quickly surpass all of the wars that this country has every fought. Chances are you or your spouse will be one of those casualties

ted c on July 12, 2009 at 8:11 PM

Another idiotic statement without any context. Clearly, there is a role for government in funding basic research and the applications of that research of the sort that led to the space program.

Basic research?

Did you just put space program and basic research in the same sentence. Wow.

it would be very likely that private entities with a profit motive will be able to push the ball further and faster, building off the basic research and successes of the original government-funded space program.

Why? Why is this likely. Space exploration can have other motives than just profit. Profit is one reason to get things done, but there are others, such as national security, or collective pride, or collective good, etc.

What this article is arguing is that by taking away the downstream profits that result from building off the government’s basic research results, you will reduce the number of individuals and companies willing to take that risk.

My comment was directed at conservnut that make it sound like no stellar and cutting edge research can come out of the government. And I know what point the article is making, but I fail to see how insurance company are more likely to fund such experiments. And if it’s not insurance companies (and not the government either) then it’s company thinking there is a market for that research. Obama so far has not gone in the direction of public-only system. People that could afford it could stilll fund such research (by being willing to pay for those services).

mycowardice on July 12, 2009 at 8:13 PM

The Repubs better have a alternative.

patrick neid on July 12, 2009 at 8:17 PM

Not just yes but HELL YES.

-Dave

Dave R. on July 12, 2009 at 8:52 PM

Very few are recognizing one more reason to oppose ObamaCare:
The best medical practitioners in the world come here to make a lot of money.
With socialized health care, they’ll stay in India & Taiwan & France.

itsnotaboutme on July 12, 2009 at 8:57 PM

…& some of our best will retire or emigrate or find other professions.

itsnotaboutme on July 12, 2009 at 8:58 PM

Basic research?

Did you just put space program and basic research in the same sentence. Wow.

Save your “wows” for someone who’s interested in your opinion. “Basic research” is clearly a term of art in the sciences referring to research, often of a generic nature, that may or may not end up leading to a breakthrough further down the line.

Why? Why is this likely. Space exploration can have other motives than just profit. Profit is one reason to get things done, but there are others, such as national security, or collective pride, or collective good, etc.

And if any of those were efficacious over the long term, that’d be great. Unfortunately, they aren’t. If they were, the Soviet Union would still exist.

And I know what point the article is making, but I fail to see how insurance company are more likely to fund such experiments. And if it’s not insurance companies (and not the government either) then it’s company thinking there is a market for that research. Obama so far has not gone in the direction of public-only system. People that could afford it could stilll fund such research (by being willing to pay for those services).

Insurance companies don’t fund drug research, but drug research is undertaken with certain assumptions about what reimbursement levels by the insurance companies will be. Since the drug companies would essentially be at the mercy of the negotiating power of any “public option” plan, their reimbursement assumptions would have to go down when building their “rate of return” models.

As far as your point about “people that could afford it” paying for that research, have you ever heard of “economies of scale”? If there are only a few buyers of a certain drug, the price needs to be much higher to cover fixed costs at a low volume than the price would need to be at higher volume.

If I could have just one wish, it would be that you people have to live in the world that reflects the obvious outcome of your ill-thought out plans and I could live in my free market world. It is seriously like we are different species.

venividivici on July 12, 2009 at 8:59 PM

Barry will see that his family gets the best medical care available. Our compensation will be that we get to pay for it. Not for our selves and families, but for Barry’s and Rahm’s.

bloggless on July 12, 2009 at 10:54 PM

Who is gonna tell Granny that she is not worth a hip replacement? What about all those liberal Granny’s, the Raging Grannies, who so desperately wanted Barry to win the election? They wanted hope and change. They got Change alright. The GOP will be the ones to save their wrinkled arses, alright, when they vote against obammy care.

bloggless on July 12, 2009 at 10:59 PM

It’s a foregone conclusion that it will.

Just talk to any specializing doctor. The neurosurgeon we’ve dealt with for nearly 15 years is going to quit if this is implemented.

Half the specialized doctors I deal with for my son are leaving the field of medicine completely.

The only doctors left will be the substandard ‘barely passed the exam’ dunderheads that do pretty much nothing but throw pills at you and can’t diagnose so much as a pimple accurately.

Researchers? Forget it. Nobody is interested in working for minimum wage, and once a discovery is made it’d be handed over to the government doctors for ‘the greater good’ and government profit, meanwhile the researcher gets diddly, and the company employing the researchers spend less and less on research because there will be no incentive to do so.

enjoy your cancer.

Spiritk9 on July 12, 2009 at 11:43 PM

Will ObamaCare threaten medical innovation?

Of course it will.

And to Obama, Nancy, Reid and company that is a feature – not a bug. Get the non-productive portions of society out of the way sooner.

CrazyFool on July 12, 2009 at 11:48 PM

Sometimes innovation may actually lead to reduced costs and improved outcomes. Take for instance the Oncotype DX test. For breast cancer diagnosis it might cost more for this test but for the patient it might help lead to treatment that is tailored to the patient that may not require chemotherapy but only radiation and tamoxifen. New data is realizing that maybe not all cancer patients require both chemotherapy and radiation.

scruplesrx on July 13, 2009 at 12:06 AM

Save your “wows” for someone who’s interested in your opinion. “Basic research” is clearly a term of art in the sciences referring to research, often of a generic nature, that may or may not end up leading to a breakthrough further down the line.

I’m not sure what your point is. Are you saying that research made by private entities always lead to breakthroughs? Seems to me just about everyone is involved in basic research unless it’s not really research (i.e. they already know the destination and how to get there)

And if any of those were efficacious over the long term, that’d be great. Unfortunately, they aren’t. If they were, the Soviet Union would still exist.

Funny, but we seem to have had a nice mix so far, since we have a publicly founded space program AND we still exist.

Insurance companies don’t fund drug research, but drug research is undertaken with certain assumptions about what reimbursement levels by the insurance companies will be. Since the drug companies would essentially be at the mercy of the negotiating power of any “public option” plan, their reimbursement assumptions would have to go down when building their “rate of return” models.

As far as your point about “people that could afford it” paying for that research, have you ever heard of “economies of scale”? If there are only a few buyers of a certain drug, the price needs to be much higher to cover fixed costs at a low volume than the price would need to be at higher volume.

The reimbursement you are talking about is only a product of people paying the insurance company who in turns pays the drug manufacturers. The public plan might not cover those drugs but,

1- people can still buy them on their own
2- insurance company might not cover them either

Why would there be fewers buyers after an Obama plan? In the current system, it’s people that end up paying for those drugs. Insurance companies pass down the costs of all these drugs to customers. They don’t have a magic wand with respect to the cost they incur and the ones they have to pass down, right?

mycowardice on July 13, 2009 at 12:24 AM

sara in va on July 12, 2009 at 12:10 PM

Not enough smart women like you here in NJ. Ever think about moving? :)

Libertarian Joseph on July 13, 2009 at 8:16 AM

The government is always quantity over quality.

sara in va on July 12, 2009 at 12:10 PM

The problem is, as soon as quality is gotten rid of, then quantity is removed as well.

MarkTheGreat on July 13, 2009 at 8:59 AM

No ObamaCare will not threaten medical innovation. It will kill medical innovation.

darktood on July 13, 2009 at 9:43 AM

Since I quit smoking and drinking I don’t have heartburn or indigestion, just anxiety attack. >_<

thomasaur on July 12, 2009

Giving those up won’t make you live longer, it’ll just seem that way.

SKYFOX on July 13, 2009 at 9:52 AM

seven on July 12, 2009

Can we expect to see this future headline…
Obamacare: Women and minorities hardest hit.

SKYFOX on July 13, 2009 at 9:55 AM

Why would the government want to save the life of a retired person?

There’s no cost benefit, they are merely a drain on the system at that point in their life.

Once confiscation of your income to the government stops (at retirement), so does your heartbeat.

omnipotent on July 13, 2009 at 12:09 PM