When it comes to health policy, I remember a line from EB white, the author famous for books like Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little. He proclaimed that “there is no limit to how complicated things can get because one thing always leads to another.”
It is a thought we should all bear in mind as we direct the start of the Biden / Harris administration. This will be especially useful in imposing their vision of health care on 330 million Americans, including nearly 22 million Floridians. Most have heard terms like “universal health care” and “Medicare Public Option” by now, but few understand exactly what certain political ideas for everyday Floridians would look like in reality.
During the presidential campaign, Conservatives made significant consideration of the possibility of a socialized $ 32 trillion approach to health care Joe Biden were elected. With a tightly divided Senate, the prospects for this political reform appear extremely slim. Still, one thing leads to another in health care, and Floridians should be careful.
As we have learned throughout history, faceless bureaucracies can send us in the wrong directions before we ever realize it. Back in August, the Trump administration issued a surprising (and worrying) executive order that could ultimately allow states to consider strategies for rationing prescription drugs. A new study from the Goldwater Institute of Determining What is Worth Living shows how this program could affect Florida’s elderly and disabled population. The report uses the term “rationing through stealth” and they are nightmares.
As part of this plan, an unelected group called the Institute for Clinical Economic Review (ICER) should determine whether your life is worth the cost of a drug you need. Using a mathematical formula called QALY (Quality Adjusted Life Years), ICER compares the benefits and worth of your life to the cost of a drug and can ultimately decide whether to give you it.
A little too old Well, you may be out of luck with this new cancer treatment. Do you have a disability and a contract with COVID-19? Well treatment may not be available if ICER has its way.
It’s sad that 30 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act – a law designed to protect the vulnerable among us – was passed, we would be pondering the idea of denying individuals life-saving drugs just because an algorithm is controlled by someone you Never make decisions that a person’s life is not worth the cost of the drug. But here we are.
Florida lawmakers have made great strides in advancing the types of patient-centered reforms in recent years, and the Goldwater report is a tremendous addition to those reforms. By resisting all efforts to use QALYs in government-administered programs and create positive protection for patients, we can cement our role as market-oriented health policy leaders.
We are not going to wake up one day and find ourselves with a socialized health system overnight. The sad reality, however, is that, like Obamacare a decade ago, political “reforms” like QALYs and the health care rationing that would bring them are steps in that direction. A society based on market economy principles has to take a different course.
Healthcare is not, and never has been, a fundamental right that the government must ensure. It’s the opposite of a right. It is a set of goods and services provided by individuals and used by consumers – subject to the economic laws of supply and demand. Government ordinances, faceless bureaucrats, and groups promoting equations that attribute value to human life should never affect the relationship between doctors and the patients they treat.
Sal Nuzzo is the Vice President of Policy at the James Madison Institute.
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