Pills Shouldn’t be Bitter

High Drug prices have been the subject of endless news stories. Politicians are railing against greedy “Big Pharma.”  It is hardly surprising people ask , “what does Dave’s Plan do to control drug prices if anything?”  They note the subject isn’t specifically mentioned. That’s true , but only because medicine is an integral part of healthcare not something apart.  One of the basic tenets of”Dave’s Plan” is to make the vast majority of healthcare transactions for cash by individuals.  Today the incomprehensible 3rd party maze of  drug companies, pharmacy-benefit managers (PBMs), discounts, rebates and insurance companies have resulted in Americans in many cases are paying much more for patented and other drugs than they should.  Yet Americans also have the most access to the advanced and in many cases life saving drugs in the world which of course is the real meaning of medicine.  After all, leaches may be cheap but are hardly crest of the medical wave. So what is the best way to balance price and the best medicines.  Scott W. Atlas of the Hoover Institution writing in the Wall Street Journal asked “so how can policy makers bring drug prices down?  By empowering consumers not insurers  or other intermediaries.”  That is exactly what Dave’s Plan does by allowing transactions to be made at the first dollar for cash.

We know this works even today.  With deductibles getting ever higher, shopping around can mean real savings.  Use pricing apps such as GoodRX.com or RXSaver.  Shop online at Blink Health.com or HealthWarehouse.com. Rather than using your insurance, just asking what the drug price would be if you pay cash at the pharmacy might result in major savings. New rules allow pharmacists to quot e direct prices,but only if you ask. If cash does better in many cases now, imagine what the price pressure would be from virtually all Americans paying cash and looking for the best deal? Could Amazon, Walmart or new entrants ignore such a vast market? That would be the case under Dave’s Plan.

Allowing foreign providers compete on a level playing field for our healthcare dollars would also increase our leverage as consumers. So long as they meet the same criteria as domestic providers they should be allowed to compete.  Whether it’s hospitals, insurers, pharmacies or any other healthcare provider, so long as they play by the rules they get to compete.  If distance is a problem for over-site the foreign entity could be required to cover reasonable costs. Getting a hip replacement in Costa Rica, pills from Canada or dental work in Mexico might not appeal to everyone but their very existence of these choices would exert downward price pressure while giving us more choices.

While obviously not part of Dave’s Plan, combining the all the International hurdles to a new drug’s acceptance in one over-site entity could save time and time is money.  With less costs to recover, new drugs might be priced lower to a much wider initial market.  The World Health Organization shows co-operation can work.  It isn’t to anyone’s advantage to keep life saving or quality of life drugs away from people for even a minute longer than necessary.  We have made some strides in the US to speed things up, but we need to do better and extend this worldwide.  European, Chinese or anyone else, good health is in everyone’s interest.

As we have maintained all along, Dave’s Plan will provide the best healthcare at the lowest cost.  We welcome a side by side comparison with any other plan.

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