Al Gore’s vow to “take on” the prescription drug industry will continue the decades-long hobbling of the American health care industry, said a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute.
“Gore’s attack on prescription drug makers is based on the recognition that people need these products,” said Robert W. Tracinski. “In today’s political environment, it seems, the last thing an industry can afford is to make a product that people need — because the public’s ‘need’ is considered an unlimited justification for the use of government coercion against the producers.”
To this end, said Tracinski, Gore and President Bill Clinton have drafted a plan to extend Medicare to include federally subsidized insurance for prescription drug expenses, a program that will set the groundwork for massive price controls.
“It’s clear that price controls for prescription drugs are coming, because that’s the pattern underlying the entire history of Medicare,” said Tracinski. “When Congress created Medicare 35 years ago, it promised free health care for everyone over 65 — but it soon discovered that free health care costs a lot of money. The politicians didn’t blame rising costs on the massive new entitlement they created — they blamed it on the doctors and hospitals, who were then squeezed by a series of regulations and price controls.
“This is what drug companies can expect as their reward for creating products that have become an indispensable part of health care. The drug companies are being threatened with regulation precisely because their products are so valuable, precisely because people need them so much. These companies, their scientists, and their executives are being punished for their virtues. This is the meaning of a moral philosophy, which Gore promotes, that holds one person’s need for a product as a blank check authorizing coercion against the very people who created that product in the first place.”
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