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Leading policy-makers and scholars explain how market forces, deregulation, and consumer choice can work to improve health care for all Americans.

Commentary

Donít Monkey With Seniors Medicare Savings
Grace-Marie Turner, Galen Institute, 12-7-05

The new Medicare Part D drug benefit has yet to take effect. But critics are already calling for the government to negotiate with (read: impose price controls on) pharmaceutical companies.

While price controls may seem great for consumers at first, their dangers are well-documented. First, in single-buyer systems, the buyer controls costs by banning access to many newer drugs. Thatís why most cutting edge medicines arenít available in socialist countries like Canada.
Second, price controls drastically reduce research and development into new drugs. Ever wonder why most life-saving drugs are now developed in the United States, not Europe? Itís because a free-market in medical research still exists in this country. If we allow politicians to outlaw competition by implementing price-controls, we could lose out on a cure for cancer.
The whole point of the new Medicare drug benefit is to allow private companies to compete as they negotiate the best possible benefits for the country's 40 million seniors. Itís clearly working Ė as will become abundantly clear on the first day of 2006. Instead of hamstringing Medicare reform just as it gets off the ground, lawmakers should be urging seniors to sign up.


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