Redistribution of Goods/Resources- Too Close to Socialism for America?

In reading the assigned article for this week, “Social Conditions as Fundamental Causes of Health Inequalities: Theory, Evidence, and Policy Implications”, I learned about the theory of fundamental causes.  Part of this theory is that greater access to resources that minimize the effects of diseases can lead to better healthcare.  The authors argue that reducing the stark resource inequalities that we see in our country today can lead to better healthcare for all our citizens.  The other side of this coin is that if we continue to see these inequalities of resources and do nothing about them, then we will continue down this path of inequalities in healthcare.

The authors then go on to argue that if there were some way to redistribute resources amongst everyone in country, then we could begin to reduce these resource inequalities and therefore the inequalities in healthcare. Right after I read this article, I turned on the Democratic Debate last night, only to hear Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders addressing a very similar issue.  He was arguing that our country should have universal healthcare, that America is the only industrialized nation that does not guarantee healthcare to all its citizens.  He then went on to say that we should have a single payer system that would have a tax on higher income families/persons in order to help the poorer pay for their healthcare.  In other words, he was saying that we should try to redistribute goods in order to reduce inequalities in healthcare.

However, in my mind, there is one small problem with what Bernie Sanders (and the authors of the article for this week) are arguing: America does not like socialism.  Bernie himself said last night in the debate that he is a Democratic Socialist, but in the past, Americans have balked at the idea of socialism in our country. Many Americans were opposed to the ACA in its earlier days, labeling it as “too socialist”.  Is there a way that we can begin to reduce these resource inequalities and therefore healthcare inequalities without dragging socialism (something that our country is very opposed to) into the picture?

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The Pros and Cons of Patent Law

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/29/upshot/how-patent-law-can-block-even-lifesaving-drugs.html?ref=health&_r=0

What if a drug was developed that could help cure AIDS? Or maybe a drug that prevented one from even being able to contract AIDS in the first place? Clearly, this drug would be something everybody wanted to get their hands on; however, patent law could prevent this drug from ever being created… or worse, created and discarded. It is obvious as to why drug innovators would avoid ideas that aren’t patentable: Producing a new drug and then bringing it into a market is expensive, not to mention the cost of labor and the fees and obligations concurrent with producing a new drug.

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The Political Discussion regarding the Cost of Prescription Medication

With the continued increase in cost of prescription drugs and medication, politicians have noticed the issue and has become a topic in which they wish to correct. In the New York Times article, Prescription Drug Cost are Rising as a Campaign Issue, Margot Sanger-katz states that the democratic nominees are preparing to combat this issue. According to the article, per capita drug spending has increased by over $100 in just the past year and while the ACA (Affordable Care Act) have increase health insurance coverage, it failed to combat the trend of rising expenses for prescription drugs. Statistics also show that the United States spends $1034 per capita on prescription drugs, over $300 more than the next country and $500 more than the average. Continue reading “The Political Discussion regarding the Cost of Prescription Medication”

The Endless Obstacles to Passing Healthcare Legislation

Now that the affordable care act has brought health care insurance coverage to millions of people, another issue prevails for the US healthcare system: the rising costs of drug prices. In response, front-line presidential candidates are proposing plans to change the way drugs are sold and financed. A recent New York Times article discusses Hilary’s plan to cap patients’ drug prices to 250/month, to require most drug makers to spend a portion of profits on research, and to discount the price of drugs sold to the federal government. In contrast, Bernie Sanders is pushing for a more radical change: a Medicare for all single payer system – a plan that pushes the US to catch up to peer countries that provide guaranteed healthcare.

Continue reading “The Endless Obstacles to Passing Healthcare Legislation”