An interesting article in the WaPo about the differences between Avastin and Lucentis.
According to the article, they’re basically the same drug, yet one costs $50 and the other $2000.
Here’s the WaPo claim that I want to focus on:
The story of Genentech’s two drugs, Lucentis and Avastin, began with a scientific marvel — a breakthrough in biology that, thanks to the vast budgets of U.S. entitlement programs, has produced enormous financial returns.
Those profits have yielded benefits. By paying for such drugs without regard to cost, the Medicare system has helped stimulate investment in medical research that contributes to the development of more lifesaving technologies.
The story is: Medicare has deep pockets and those deep pockets have allowed for great innovation of lifesaving technologies.
My question is: what about computers? cell/smart phones? automobiles? In short, everything that isn’t paid for by Medicare? Have we not seen amazing innovation in every sector? And all without government spending to fuel it.
My deeper question: why do people think that healthcare is somehow different than every other market?
If you want to respond to the deeper question by saying something like, “Healthcare is necessary for life in ways that television aren’t,” then I ask this question: Aren’t food and shelter more necessary for life than healthcare, and isn’t there still less government intervention with regards to these two necessities than with healthcare?
$1.50 per day is apparently the amount that separates a healthy diet from an unhealthy one.
The article linked above highlights the relatively small difference in price and notes that with such a small difference in price a lot of money could be saved (in healthcare expenses) if policy makers would take note and find a way to get poor people these funds. Here is a notable paragraph:
Still, from a policy perspective, he argues, $1.50 a day is chump change. “That’s the cost of a cup of coffee,” he says. “It’s trivial compared to the cost of heart disease or diabetes, which is hundreds of billions of dollars” — both in terms of health care costs and lost productivity.
“And so that relatively small difference,” he says, “should really be an incentive for policymakers” to find ways to help low-income families bridge that extra $1.50 per day.
I find it very disconcerting, though not at all surprising, that the assumption is that poor people cannot afford healthy food and that’s why they do not eat healthy food. My takeaway from the article is completely the opposite of NPR’s. I see the $1.50 difference – a small difference, that, even for an annual income of $20,000, amount to only a 2% change – as evidence that those who don’t eat healthy do so by choice. In my narrative, it’s not that people (poor, rich, whatever) lack the means of eating healthy, it’s that they don’t want to. From this perspective, policy can only do one thing: force people to do something that they don’t want to do.
I am a firm believer that nobody should be forced to eat Brussels sprouts.
When I need or want something I figure out what is required of me for me to obtain that thing. I don’t – ever – attempt to force others to obtain that thing for me.
I guess that’s how I am different than BO and his chief economic advisor Jason Furman.
Walking fast seems to be better for you than walking slow. Except, uh, that’s not at all what these results actually imply.
The good doctor says this, “Our results do suggest that there is a significant health benefit to pursuing a faster pace,” Dr. Williams said.”
Doc, I wouldn’t call a statistical analysis of data that already exists “results”.
More importantly, your results DO NOT suggest such a health benefit. Correlation, causation, blah blah blah.
If you’re a doctor and you think this way and say this kind of crap you shouldn’t be a doctor. And if you’re a science reporter and you write this kind of crap (uncritically) you shouldn’t be a science reporter.
Yes, Healthcare.gov is better than Sex Panther. Except it’s not, because apparently it in the 90% of the time when it works every time it actually fails 33% of the time.
Ron Burgundy is right, it doesn’t make sense. Nothing about the government trying to monopolize the health INSURANCE market makes sense (I use all caps to again note the fact that health insurance and health care are NOT THE SAME THING, which is something the government still doesn’t seem to understand; nor do most Americans!).
Force other people to do something that they don’t want to do and shouldn’t have to do…or, set about making yourself more valuable so that you can command a higher wage without resorting to force?
Yes, it’s a question of reason versus gross irrationality.
I think DC must be the greatest place on earth: chocolates and truffles and beer and wine and and scotch rain from the sky and bubble from fountains and nothing matters and anybody can do whatever they want and everybody makes lots and lots of money and there are absolutely no consequences.