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Health Care Alternatives to ObamaCare

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Since ObamaCare—the administration’s $1 trillion health care plan—was passed in March, Democrats have lauded its passage as a step toward health care utopia, while Republicans have admonished it as unsustainable and fiscally irresponsible.  Perhaps more important than either side’s political posturing has been the American public’s general disapproval of the legislation.  Now, in an attempt to combat ObamaCare and offer real ideas for positive change, Congressional Republicans last week unveiled their “Pledge to America,” which promises to repeal and replace Obamacare with “commonsense, fiscally sustainable health care reforms that will improve health care and expand access to affordable health insurance.”

The Pledge would start by repealing ObamaCare and replacing it with interstate insurance competition, reforming medical malpractice, expanding health savings accounts and improving high risk pools for people with pre-existing health conditions. But FoxNews.com states that Republicans should do more by promoting a bipartisan agenda that will fortify our country’s leadership in biomedical innovation.  The article suggests –

By creating a better climate for medical innovation today, policymakers will reap huge dividends from more high paying biotech jobs, new cures for life-threatening diseases, and new treatments that will help Americans remain healthier and more productive as they age – reducing the strain on government programs like Social Security and Medicare.

U.S. leadership in biomedical innovation is waning—in part because of prohibitive regulations—while countries like China and India are rapidly advancing in this field.  To reestablish global superiority in biomedical innovation, which can positively impact our nation’s health care and treatment options, the authors suggest the government undertake the following measures:

Tax reform – The U.S. corporate tax rate is the world’s highest at nearly 40 percent. This kills American job growth by encouraging companies to outsource.  Reducing this tax rate would be a potent incentive for companies to invest in biotech and medical jobs in the U.S.

Retain scientific talent – Our universities educate and train some of the world’s brightest students, only to ship them back to their original countries after college. To stay competitive in these fields, we must retain these students, perhaps by offering green cards to those who earn a master’s degree or Ph.D. in hard sciences like biology and chemistry.

Modernize the FDA – There is currently a huge gap between advances in science and the number of innovative and effective drugs coming to market.  FDA regulation and approval of new drugs is cumbersome and outdated, making it cost prohibitive for many drug makers to generate new medicines.  Modernizing how we evaluate drugs so that more companies can participate in the field will promote innovation and competition in the marketplace.  And budget increases to renovate the FDA can be offset in ways that promote health like, for example, slashing agriculture subsidies for corn byproducts that inundate our grocery stores with junk food.

While such measures aren’t the traditional means to reform health care, they are measures that promote innovation and competition, strong market forces which naturally lower costs.  The FoxNews authors close their thoughts, noting:

By expanding their definition of health care reform to include a comprehensive innovation agenda, Republicans can attract support from Democrats and independents for maintaining U.S. leadership in a critical economic sector. Better yet, they can offer hope to millions of patients suffering from chronic and life-threatening illnesses that have few good treatment options today.

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