The United States boasts the most innovative medical system in the world—thanks to scientific advances, premature babies born in the USA have a better shot at survival and meaningful lives here than anywhere else. The age-adjusted death rate for heart disease has fallen by 54% since 1960. This is solely because of new technology and new drugs.
But as Newt Gingrich notes in today’s Wall Street Journal, this system is now under attack.
If any of plans currently put forward by Democrats on the Hill are adopted, life-enhancing innovation will be imperiled:
Standing in opposition to this world of hope is the vision of reform advanced by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats. That vision would destroy the economic incentives that drive health-care innovation because it starts with a fundamental conceit: that government planners can spend health-care dollars better than patients and doctors in the marketplace. This planning is the foundation for the arbitrary insistence that spending 17% of our GDP on health care is “too much.”
The new bureaucracies that would be set up to reduce health-care spending by slashing payments to doctors, hospitals, surgeons, specialists, drug companies, high-tech equipment makers and others will kill the innovation that has served us so well. The essential incentives for the huge capital investment necessary to develop breakthrough treatments will be gone. And so too will high-paying jobs that these investments create.
Indeed, the plan released by Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.) last week would impose new taxes on medical device manufacturers of $40 billion over 10 years. That’s more than industry venture capital investment.
Like many non-drivers, I often strike up current events conversations with cab drivers. I had a driver last night who believes that drug companies are the culprits in much of what ails us, economically and medically. Any thing with profit, I think he felt (other, of course, than driving a taxi), is suspect.
The left has so instilled this notion that it’s difficult to have a genuine conversation. But we must, or we will destroy, for no reason other than ideology, the best medical system in the world.