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Volume 3, Number 35
October 30, 2006


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In the Spotlight

For Health Care Woes, a Capitalism Prescription

David Gratzer, Medical Progress Today, 10-27-06

Amid the Congressional page scandal, the most important pocketbook issue of the election is getting lost in the noise of the campaign season. Health care costs are not just soaring, they're reaching unaffordable levels, meaning that we'll have to look to managed care (again) or find a government solution, a prescription for rationing. With spiraling costs projected to continue, thereby doubling spending in the next 8 years, that choice will be made by 2014 unless we find a third option. What's the cure? Congress needs to administer a strong dose of capitalism.
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News

Tying Diseases to DNA in Thousands of Women
Wall Street Journal, 10-24-06

Editor's Notes:

This article provides an interesting overview on how scientists are trying to mine genetic materials collected in large clinical trials for links to common, chronic diseases—and how researchers, government agencies, and pharmaceutical companies are joining hands to work around thorny intellectual property rights problems.
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Plans Help to Close the Gap
Houston Chronicle, 10-21-06

Editor's Notes:

Wal–Mart, and its competitor's like Target, should be applauded for setting low, flat fees for many generic drugs (Wal–Mart's program offers over 140 generics at $4 for a 30 day supply). These programs should help Americans without health insurance, and seniors who run into the "doughnut hole", find inexpensive options for generic medicines. Wal-Mart's program is currently available in 27 states.
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Confident Democrats Draft Broad Health Care Agenda
The New York Times, 10-20-06

Editor's Notes:

The Democrats are already crafting the outlines of their legislative agenda, should they retake Congress, and the Times gives us a window into their thinking.
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A Poor Report Card
The Economist, 10-12-06

Editor's Notes:

The National Health Service in the United Kingdom was up for a national review recently, and the Economist reports that it appears to have done rather poorly:
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Commentary

A Living Donor Let Me Live On
Sally Satel, MD, American Enterprise Institute, 10-25-06

Satel, the recipient of an organ donation, thinks that the time has come to establish pilot programs offering market incentives that may encourage more people to become organ donors. The current ban on compensation for organ donations, she explains, is not producing anywhere near enough organs for all of the people who need them.
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Benefits of a Brisk FDA
Boston Herald, 10-22-06

The Herald notes that economic research suggests that legislative efforts in the early 1990s to speed up drug reviews at the FDA has saved lives, even after accounting for additional safety risks that may accrue to the faster marketing of new drugs.
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Building on the Successes of Health Savings Accounts
Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., Greg D'Angelo, Heritage Foundation, 10-20-06

D'Angelo and Moffit think that efforts towards the next significant health care reform should focus on the tax code, which currently favors employer–based insurance to the disadvantage of individuals who work at firms that don't offer health insurance. They also believe that tax credits should allow individuals to purchase any kind of health insurance, not just HSAs.
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Competition Good For Your Health (Care)
Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., Washington Times, 10-19-06

Moffit offers a thoughtful reflection on programs where competition and choice in health insurance options are helping to hold down health care costs and yet offer quality health care to consumers. He also offers suggestions for additional reforms.
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The Medicare Drug Benefit: What Happened?
Karlyn Bowman, American Enterprise Institute, 10-19-06

As Congressional races stumble to a close, Bowman summarizes the performance of the new Medicare Drug Benefit across a number of different surveys to see how the benefit may be affecting the election prospects of the Republican party.
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In this week's issue:

SPOTLIGHT

For Health Care Woes, a Capitalism Prescription

NEWS

Tying Diseases to DNA in Thousands of Women
Plans Help to Close the Gap
Confident Democrats Draft Broad Health Care Agenda
A Poor Report Card

COMMENTARY

A Living Donor Let Me Live On
Benefits of a Brisk FDA
Building on the Successes of Health Savings Accounts
Competition Good For Your Health (Care)
The Medicare Drug Benefit: What Happened?
Center for Medical Progress 
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