Robert Reich: While Bill Clinton stumps for Obama, Romney has gone out of his way not to mention the name of the president who came after Clinton and before Obama.
Marian Wang: Pfizer is adding yet another twist to its efforts to delay generic competitors. As The New York Times reports, the company seems to have struck a deal with certain pharmacy benefit managers to block generic versions of Lipitor.
Wendy McElroy: A new slate of drugs now addresses a wide range of so-called disorders, or dysfunctions, that former generations considered environmental problems or lifestyle choices: from obesity to attention deficit, from erectile dysfunction to social anxiety (shyness), from menopause to alcoholism.
Tracy Emblem: Up to 40% of the drugs Americans take are now imported, and up to 80% of the active pharmaceutical ingredients in drugs are manufactured by companies in foreign countries.
Real reform has moved from a Medicare-like public option open to all, to a public option open to 6 million without employer coverage (still in the House bill), to a public option open only to those same people in states that opt for it, or about 4 million (the original Harry Reid version of the Senate bill), to no public option but expanded Medicare (the Senate compromise) to no expanded Medicare at all (the deal with Joe “I love all the attention” Lieberman).
Without some mechanism forcing private insurers to compete, we’re going to end up with a national health care system that’s controlled by a handful of very large corporations accountable neither to American voters nor to the market.
Senator Joe Lieberman continues to threaten filibuster of the Senate health reform bill even in the face of the recent Harvard study showing that 45 thousand Americans die each year because of lack of sufficient health care.
The virus, though, only appears to be as deadly as other yearly viruses as the deaths associated with the new virus are at a minimum. But the fear is now established and people want the vaccine.
Without a public, Medicare-like option, health care reform is a bandaid for a system in critical condition. There’s no way to push private insurers to become more efficient and provide better value to Americans without being forced to compete with a public option.
Now is the time for the President to begin twisting arms and knocking heads. To control long-term costs, he’ll also have to take away some of the goodies that have been promised to the health-industrial complex, and maybe even cross Big Labor.
If bills aren’t passed in the House and Senate before August 7th, the fights in both chambers over the public option and money will carry over into the Fall, where they’ll become more intense and more prolonged.
Without a public option, the other parties that comprise America’s non-system of health care — private insurers, doctors, hospitals, drug companies, and medical suppliers — have little or no incentive to supply high-quality care at a lower cost than they do now. Which is precisely why the public option has become such a lightening rod. […]