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Volume 3, Number 8
March 9, 2006


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In the Spotlight

California’s Uninsured: Not as bad a problem as you might think.
Commonsense policy changes can also help make health insurance more affordable.

John R. Graham, Medical Progress Today, 3-9-06

Out here on the left coast, there’s no end to the hand-wringing over the “crisis of the uninsured.” Proposals to solve this crisis include Canadian-style, so-called “single payer” government monopoly health insurance (fully supported by the Democratic caucus in Sacramento), and ordering employers to provide health insurance to their employees – San Francisco City Supervisor Tom Ammiano wants to compel firms with as few as 20 employees to provide health insurance. The former, of course, is simply a recipe for long waiting lists for medical treatment (akin to waiting for bread in the Soviet Union), and the latter would result in higher unemployment for the lowest wage earners.
Continue reading . . .

Commentary

Sticker shock could help with healthcare costs
Newt Gingrich, James Frogue, The Hill, 3-8-06

Gingrich, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, is a polymath devoted to advancing big ideas that challenge the conventional wisdom. In this op-ed, Gingrich and his colleague Jim Frogue argue that the U.S. is at “the most important crossroads in healthcare policy of our lifetimes,” and “on the threshold of a 21st century intelligent healthcare system that saves lives and saves money for every American.” Who does Gingrich think will lead us into this bold, bright future? America’s savvy, value-hungry consumers. Still, Gingrich’s picture is not completely without its caveats.
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The hip that changed health care history
David Gratzer, National Post, 3-7-06

Gratzer, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, chronicles the glacial but relentless pace of another healthcare revolution, this time in Canada. Rebellious doctors and rebellious patients are fighting the government to increase access to private health clinics for a wide range of treatments and diagnostic services that are only available after long delays (months or even years) through publicly funded hospitals.
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Drug Reckoning
Wall Street Journal, 3-6-06

The Journal reminds us that “an excess of caution –whether due to regulation, litigation, or fear – can itself be harmful to public health.” The Journal uses as examples two drugs — Erbitux for cancer and Tysabri for multiple sclerosis — that were either withheld or withdrawn from the market due to safety or efficacy concerns, to illustrate its argument that sometimes an excess of caution can be fatal.
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Shop and Compare Hospital Care
Bob Moos, The Dallas Morning News, 3-5-06

Moos underscores Newt Gingrich’s argument that transparency in the pricing and quality of healthcare services will help consumers drive business to the most efficient and effective firms. Moos writes that, in a few crucial areas, hospitals have embraced the underlying concept of information transparency.
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Taxed to Death
Roger Bate, Bangkok Post, 3-3-06

Bate points out that, of all the obstacles facing sick patients in poor countries, the cruelest may be the hurdles imposed by their own governments.
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Letter to the Editor: Juryless Health Courts Could Stabilize 'Crisis'
Phillip K. Howard, Wall Street Journal, 2-28-06

Philip Howard, founder and chair of the group Common Good, writes to the Wall Street Journal to underscore the hypocrisy of attorneys who reject medical malpractice reforms that would improve health care quality while also reducing frivolous lawsuits.
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Research

Estimating the Cost of New Drug Development: Is it Really $802 Million?
Christopher P. Adams, Van V. Brantner, Health Affairs, 3-1-06

This study essentially verifies a widely quoted estimate for the cost of developing a new drug for FDA approval ($802 million) that was compiled several years ago by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development.
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Are Development Times for Pharmaceuticals Increasing or Decreasing?
Neil Powe, Salomeh Keyhani, Marie Diener-West, Health Affairs, 3-1-06

Researchers in this study argue that, contrary to assertions made by drug companies and other researchers, drug development times (and therefore development costs) are in fact decreasing, with the implication that drug prices are in some sense “too high” relative to costs.
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Medical Progress Today is published by the Center for Medical Progress at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.

For more information about Medical Progress Today, please contact the managing editor, Paul Howard, at phoward@manhattan-institute.org, or via telephone at 212.599.7000.

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In this week's issue:

SPOTLIGHT

California’s Uninsured: Not as bad a problem as you might think.

COMMENTARY

Sticker shock could help with healthcare costs
The hip that changed health care history
Drug Reckoning
Shop and Compare Hospital Care
Taxed to Death
Letter to the Editor: Juryless Health Courts Could Stabilize 'Crisis'

RESEARCH

Estimating the Cost of New Drug Development: Is it Really $802 Million?
Are Development Times for Pharmaceuticals Increasing or Decreasing?
Center for Medical Progress 
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