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Volume 3, Number 11
March 31, 2006


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In the Spotlight

Health insurance price caps a bad idea for business

Tarren Bragdon, Albany Business Review, 3-31-06

In the face of high and rising health insurance premiums in New York, pressure seems to be growing in some quarters for a return to the empty promise of state-enforced health insurance price controls.
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Commentary

A Healthy Medicare Drug Plan
David Merritt, Newt Gingrich, The Boston Globe, 3-30-06

Media coverage of the of the newly implemented Medicare drug benefit has been overwhelmingly negative. The constant drumbeat of pessimism, however, has made the findings of recent surveys conducted by an insurance trade group, America's Health Insurance Plans, something of a dog-bites-man story. The surveys, in fact, reveal that the vast majority of seniors polled reported no problems signing up for the benefit (84 percent), and a solid majority (59 percent) reporting that it was saving them money on their monthly drug costs.
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A Foolish Way to Fight Fraud
Steve Malanga, New York Post, 3-29-06

Last July, the New York Times broke a story alleging widespread fraud and waste in New York's Medicaid program, the largest and most lavish in the nation.
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Governments Restrict Access to Healthcare and Prevent Medicine Development:
International Policy Network, 3-28-06

This report, from the International Policy Network, finds that governments in developing nations often hinder access to new medicines through misguided regulations, taxes, and tariffs. The authors estimate that "50 per cent of people in parts of Africa and Asia have no access to medicines due to harmful government policies."
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Playing Catch-Up: The FDA, Science, and Drug Regulation
Joseph Calfee, Ph.D., American Enterprise Institute, 3-28-06

Calfee attributes the recent slow-down in medicines generated by the biopharmaceutical industry that reach eventual FDA approval as the result of conflicting trends in science and regulation. On the one hand, advances in basic science are producing new therapeutic drug candidates that attack new disease targets and may require new models for testing their efficacy and safety. On the other hand, powerful political forces that lead the agency to value caution over innovation continually buffet the FDA.
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Health-care reform: Be patient
Alex Gerber, Washington Times, 3-26-06

Gerber attacks President Bush as an ideologue who can't connect with reality, and calls the U.S. healthcare system a "national disgrace." He then lavishes praise upon Canada's healthcare system and paints it as a high-tech, low-cost utopia that America should emulate as soon as possible.
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Research

The Impact of Antihypertensive Drugs on the Number and Risk of Death, Stroke and Myocardial Infarction in the United States
Ernst R. Berndt, David M. Cutler, Genia Long, NBER, 1-3-06

Is U.S. healthcare spending worth the price tag? Pundits like Dr. Gerber, as we noted above, tend to think that the U.S. is spends far too much to achieve far too little. But the answer to this question—the value of spending—depends critically on the variables being measured. The researchers in this NBER working paper present interesting evidence that U.S. healthcare spending—at least in certain disease categories—produces enormous healthcare value relative to expenditures.
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In this week's issue:

SPOTLIGHT

Health insurance price caps a bad idea for business

COMMENTARY

A Healthy Medicare Drug Plan
A Foolish Way to Fight Fraud
Governments Restrict Access to Healthcare and Prevent Medicine Development:
Playing Catch-Up: The FDA, Science, and Drug Regulation
Health-care reform: Be patient

RESEARCH

The Impact of Antihypertensive Drugs on the Number and Risk of Death, Stroke and Myocardial Infarction in the United States
Center for Medical Progress 
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