SUBMITTED BY DAVID BEAVER
How To Reduce Healthcare Costs Without the Government
It goes without saying that the healthcare issue is always on the minds of Americans these days. Despite everything the government has tried to do, the cost of care and with it the cost of insurance continues to rise. Families continue to struggle and despite rising costs care options grow more limited. So how can we succeed where various government programs leading up to the Affordable Care Act and beyond, have failed? Where the government has failed us there are still a number of ways we can reduce costs. They do not involve an overnight solution and the approach would have to be a multi-faceted one. In other words, we need more than just one big solution. There will be many steps. Nonetheless here we will discuss just a few possible measures that may help alleviate the crisis and allow the system to operate more efficiently.
Reduce Barriers to Generic and Alternative Prescriptions
There are two major barriers that stand in the way of generic and alternative prescription medications. The first and foremost barrier is the FDA. Most people cringe at the very idea phasing out or even simply reducing the size and scope of the FDA.
“Think of our safety!" they say. "Think of our children!" they say. However, there is a great deal of debate on just how safe and healthy the FDA keeps us.
Did you know according to FDA guidelines a 3.5 ounce can of canned mushrooms is allowed to contain up to nineteen maggots in a single can? Granted, mushrooms don't keep very well and buying them canned may not be the healthiest choice to begin with, but do these regulations make you feel safe? Not only that but every medication that has ever been recalled by the FDA was once approved by this government organization and said to be "proven to be safe and effective" Some of these FDA regrets included Fenfluramine, Suprofen, Benoxaprofen, and a number of others. Not only this but we have heard a lot of fuss recently over the so-called "opiate crisis" and yet according to the CDC most opiate-related deaths have taken place as a result of prescription opiates. These were opiate-derived medications the FDA approved.
Alternatives to the FDA could exist in the form of voluntary consumer protection organizations similar to Consumer Labs, the Natural Products Association. Meanwhile being able to forego the exhaustive requirements, regulations and excessive waiting periods associated with the bureaucracy of the FDA would free up cheaper and competitive alternatives to expensive prescription medications, all of which will drive up the price of the insurance that covers them.
The second major barrier, particularly to generic prescriptions exists in the form of extensive patent laws. With patents on prescription medications lasting as long 40 years this means a cheaper alternative to life-saving medications. This means that the patent-holder will own a proverbial monopoly on their medication and will be allowed unhindered to charge whatever they want, especially since insurance will always cover the cost. A cheaper and competitive alternative then, will likely not exist in your lifetime or in mine, or if it does we won't much time left to enjoy it. By then, I surmise many of us will be on fixed incomes if we are even able to retire.