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October 9, 2020
Seize the Offense –– Issue #102

While Vice President Pence clearly prevailed in Wednesday night’s debate, I, too, was disappointed that he didn’t seize the offense on health care, especially since conservative candidates around the country are getting pummeled with ads on health care and especially pre-existing conditions.
 
The Executive Order the White House issued Sept. 24 lists dozens of major and targeted accomplishments of the Trump administration on health care—from big changes in the options for employers on health coverage to price transparency, kidney health, opioid addiction treatment, and rural health.
 
And, as we alerted you around the same time, our Health Policy Consensus Group has worked tirelessly for two years to enhance and refine our Health Care Choices Plan, also with dozens of recommendations for Personalized Care That Puts You and Your Doctor in Charge, summarized here. 
 
Mr. Pence was a champion of the Healthy Indiana Plan that based health coverage for lower-income people on HSA-type accounts so he knows this issue. Conservatives have such a great story to tell. We are doing our best, in this completely abnormal election year, to help get the word out.  Tell your friends.
 
And in the meantime, we at the Galen Institute continue our relentless work to educate the debate.  Here’s our recent production on issues of the day:
  • Doug Badger has a piece in The Washington Times, with Norbert Michel of Heritage, “COVID-19:  Still a New York Story,” based upon their earlier deep dive into the issue in a paper for Heritage. Bottom line: “The New York City MSA remains without rival as a pandemic epicenter, accounting for 25 percent of the nation’s COVID-19-related deaths …[and the city’s] case rate still exceeds that in the rest of the country by 65 percent.”
     
  • Doug also had a piece on drug pricing in The Daily Signal, “Trump Doesn’t Need Price Controls to Lower Prescription Drug Costs:” “Instead of importing price controls, the Trump administration should pursue bipartisan Medicare reforms that would cap seniors’ out-of-pocket spending on prescription medicines and save taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.”
     
  • I had an op-ed in The Hill “Double-dippers drive up drug costs” about the terrible abuse of a once-obscure program, called 340B.  Instead of serving low-income and vulnerable populations as intended with affordable drugs, it has become a huge unchecked profit center for the biggest pharmaceutical chains, hospitals, and other big players who seize the deep discounts but seldom pass the savings along to patients.
     
  • And you saw the big paper we released on ­­­Tuesday on “Why states should not expand Medicaid” by Sam Adolphsen of the Foundation for Government Accountability and Brian Blase and me of Galen offering 12 solid reasons why states should not expand, based upon the troubled experience of other states who took the leap.
     
  • And Brian is taking a look forward on what the future could hold in his new analysis, “Properly Incentivizing Health Care Innovation & A Case Study on the First Autonomous Artificial Intelligence.” He describes the benefits of an FDA-approved innovation which uses autonomous artificial intelligence to generate a medical decision without human oversight, saving money and increasing access to needed care. But Medicare’s outdated payment methodologies may prevent seniors from receiving its benefits.
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