When Insurance Companies Pay For Medicine, They Also Choose What Medicine To Not Pay For

A common strategy used by those who oppose government programs is to highlight any deleterious points while ignoring the alternatives, as if everything would be perfect if the government wasn’t involved. Peter Suderman has a post at Reason entitled When Governments Choose To Pay For Medicine, They Also Choose What Medicine To Not Pay For. The post is based upon this report in The Wall Street Journal on European countries trying to cut back on drug prices.

Yes the title is true but Suderman ignores two important facts:

When Insurance Companies Pay For Medicine, They Also Choose What Medicine To Not Pay For. Insurance companies routinely restrict which medications are covered, and for-profit insurance companies are often more restrictive than government programs as to what they will pay for. Their decisions are much more likely to be based upon maximizing their profits as opposed to trying to rationally allocate limited resources in a fair manner. Another trick often used by insurance companies is to officially cover a medication but make the patient’s co-pay so high that they cannot afford them.

When Governments Do Not Choose To Pay for Medicine, many go without any medications. In an ideal world everyone would be able to get any medication, regardless of cost.  In the real world most people have limitations on the medications they can have, with many people having no coverage other than for government programs. This beats not being able to afford medications at all.

Ann Coulter Revives Glenn Beck’s Attack on Malia Obama

While Glenn Beck realized he went too far in attacking Barack Obama’s daughter and apologized, Ann Coulter has no qualms about reviving this in the title of today’s column:  Did You Plug The Hole With A Blue Dress Yet, Daddy? The rest of the column, like all her columns (or for that matter everything else in Human Events) isn’t worth reading but the title does show that Coulter is as vile a person as we’ve always suspected.

Obama On The Offensive

I love seeing Obama go on the offensive, as he did speaking in Pennsylvania on Wednesday. Politico reports:

“[A] good deal of the other party’s opposition to our agenda has also been rooted in their sincere and fundamental belief about government,” Obama said. “It’s a belief that government has little or no role to play in helping this nation meet our collective challenges. It’s an agenda that basically offers two answers to every problem we face: more tax breaks for the wealthy and fewer rules for corporations.”

Obama, who plans to stay in Pittsburgh for only a couple of hours before flying back to the nation’s capital, said most Republicans “have sat on the sidelines and shouted from the bleachers.”

He added: “As November approaches, leaders in the other party will campaign furiously on the same economic argument they’ve been making for decades. Fortunately, we don’t have to look back too many years to see how it turns out. … They gave tax cuts that weren’t paid for to millionaires who didn’t need them. They gutted regulations, and put industry insiders in charge of industry oversight. … And despite all their current moralizing about the need to curb spending, this is the same crowd who took the record $237 billion surplus that President Clinton left them and turned it into a record $1.3 trillion deficit.”

This is exactly what must be done in order to fight the distortions spread by the right wing noise machine. Democrats have been urging Obama to hit the Republicans harder. While the fundamentals do favor the Republicans in this off-year election, perhaps having Obama campaigning this fall can affect the outcome.

Update: The full text is here.