Iowa – What Does it Mean for Healthcare?

People want change.

Mike_huckabee_bioPic_obama_bioBarack to the Future!

Huckabee a Wannabe!

Those are my slogans.

Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee are the winners according to CNN at this writing.  What does that mean for healthcare?

In my analysis of the past several weeks, you have two very different candidates.  Obama has a very thorough and pretty detailed positions on detailed elements of healthcare, Huckabee has not enunciated very thorough positions on healthcare.  It is like their campaigns – Obama with a very well organized campaign, Huckabee not ready for a national campaign.

Respecting our five domains for Obama:

  1. Importation of Drugs – On the one hand, this candidate recognizes that it is important that drug companies receive a profit from their investment in cures.  But there is a takeaway as well.  "Pharmaceutical companies should profit when their research and development results in a groundbreaking new drug. But some companies are exploiting Americans by dramatically overcharging U.S. consumers. These companies are selling the exact same drugs in Europe and Canada but charging Americans a 67 percent premium. Obama will allow Americans to buy their medicines from other developed countries if the drugs are safe and prices are lower outside the U.S."
  2. Medicare Part D Reform – The Senator favors reforming Part D to allow the government to negotiate prices with the pharmaceutical industry.  According to his campaign site, "[t]he 2003 Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act bans the government from negotiating down the prices of prescription drugs, even though the Department of Veterans Affairs’ negotiation of prescription drug prices with pharmaceutical companies has garnered significant savings for taxpayers. Obama will repeal the ban on direct negotiation with drug companies and use the resulting savings, which could be as high as $30 billion,50 to further invest in improving health care coverage and quality.
  3. Pharmaceutical Marketing Restrictions - Nothing found. 
  4. Follow-on-Biologic Regulation – Nothing found, however, there is a strong theme related to introducing generics into the mix to control costs, see below.
  5. Generic Promotion – Obama directly addresses this in his plan, which few others do so directly.  "Some drug manufacturers are explicitly paying generic drug makers not to enter the market so they can preserve their monopolies and keep charging Americans exorbitant prices for brand name products. The Obama plan will work to ensure that market power does not lead to higher prices for consumers. His plan will work to increase use of generic drugs in the new public plan, Medicare, Medicaid, FEHBP and prohibit large drug companies from keeping generics out of markets.

Analysis:  More than any other candidate, his site addresses each of the domains with particularity.  While the candidate gives a nod to the need for profits for drug companies for future research, when it comes to the fact that Americans are charged more for products than other countries on his importation policy, it does not take into account a global pricing structure that at this point, requires that more developed nations subsidize access for lesser developed countries.  That is an essential component for any commentary on drug pricing in America. 

Huckabee:

The Huckabee position on health care starts out by telling us that "[t]he health care system in this country is irrevocably broken" (emphasis my own).  That seems like a peculiar statement.  I mean, if it is irrevocably broken – no one can fix it.  He then talks about his proposals to fix it.  His reliance is on the private sector to bring down health care costs.  "I advocate policies that will encourage the private sector to seek innovative ways to bring down costs and improve the free market for health care services."

I am evaluating at the plans and candidate positioning regarding five domains: 

  1. Importation of Drugs – There is nothing specific on his Web site about the importation of drugs, but according to Web MD, he does not favor importation based on the issue of the risk associated with the safety of such drugs.   
  2. Medicare Part D Reform – Again, there is nothing specific on his site, but again according to Web MD, he feels that his consumer-based approach to healthcare coverage will result in lower drug costs.   
  3. Pharmaceutical Marketing Restrictions - Nothing found. 
  4. Follow-on-Biologic Regulation – Nothing found.
  5. Generic Promotion – Again with no specificity in his plan, he has made statements that favor competition. 

Analysis:  There is nothing here to determine where the candidate stands on some specific issues with regard to the future of health care as it stands in these five domains.  His plan is not as well thought out as others in this area.  He may be rising in the polls in Iowa, where the Republican base may not be as concerned about health care as they are illegal immigration, but if he wants to move above the pack, as the election evolves, he may want to enunciate some more specific measures in his planning.   He is very big on preventive measures to improve U.S. heathcare, but it is not clear how government would take a role in that. 

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One Response to Iowa – What Does it Mean for Healthcare?

  1. jiny says:

    In my opinion the views and ideas of Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee are very much inspiring.I am agree and very much inspired with the views of Iowa and i think it will surely make a change.
    jiny
    http://www.drugtreatments.com/iowa