The Economy of Healthcare (July 2009)

Legislation on innovative drugs is key to health reform

More than 60 years after President Harry Truman called on Congress to provide Americans the “opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health” and “protection or security against the economic effects of sickness,” we are still fighting for healthcare reform.

H.R. 1548 better than alternatives on new drug class

The field of biotechnology is the future of medicine. Today we’re just scratching the surface of the potential for biology-driven breakthroughs that hold the promise of treating cancer, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and other deadly and debilitating diseases. The innovation and discovery in this vital field will transform medicine in the coming decades, but these biologic treatments are expensive. To meet our national priority of improving health while reducing costs, we must look for ways to deliver safe and effective, lower-price alternatives.

The system’s failure: Americans are paying more and getting less

When Americans go to the doctor’s office or hospital, they have been forced to dig deeper and deeper into their wallets to get the care they need. Americans without insurance aren’t the only ones who are struggling. Rising deductibles, premiums and out-of-pocket costs have left insured Americans paying more for their check-ups and prescriptions and getting less. And without real health reform, these problems will only get worse. The status quo is no longer sustainable; the time for reform is now.

Improving maternal health in developing countries

When President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama wake up in Accra, Ghana this weekend, they will send a powerful message to the world about their commitment to ensuring Africa’s continued progress. Their decision to visit Ghana on the heels of the G8 summit in Italy this week — where the world’s leading economies are focused on developing long-term security and prosperity — demonstrates the Obama administration’s attention to also develop a healthy and prosperous Africa.

H.R. 1548 better than alternatives on new drug class

The field of biotechnology is the future of medicine. Today we’re just scratching the surface of the potential for biology-driven breakthroughs that hold the promise of treating cancer, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and other deadly and debilitating diseases. The innovation and discovery in this vital field will transform medicine in the coming decades, but these biologic treatments are expensive. To meet our national priority of improving health while reducing costs, we must look for ways to deliver safe and effective, lower-price alternatives. Comprehensive healthcare reform offers a timely and appropriate vehicle in which to accomplish this.

The heartbeat of rural America

I have had the privilege of serving Kansans from the “Big First” congressional district, a largely rural area, for the last 14 years. My parents are 94 and 95 and still live in my hometown of Plainville, Kan., a town with a population of 1,900. My dad has morning coffee with Keith Unrein, our local pharmacist, and Dr. Sanchez paid a house call on my mom when she slipped and bumped her head a few months back.

Public option essential, will not lead to rationing or curbing doctor choice

Comprehensive health reform is going to happen this year because the status quo simply is not working. And the problems driving the need for reform are the very reasons we need to establish a public health insurance option.

$10.4B allocation in stimulus to NIH is wise investment

As we work our way through some of the most severe economic problems we have experienced in a generation, we are also taking on a challenge of historic significance: healthcare reform. The dimensions of each set of issues, the economic crisis and the healthcare crisis, are huge — but they aren’t separate.