In his article "Why in the World Can't We Figure Out Health Care?" (Aug. 30 Forum), T.R. Reid seeks to "dispel a few myths about health care abroad," myths purportedly promulgated by opponents of Obamacare.
One of those myths, according to Mr. Reid, is that "cost controls stifle innovation." Mr. Reid is not alone in claiming this to be a myth and, in support of this claim, the mythologists cite innovations that have occurred in other countries such as France, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Great Britain, etc.
However, the reasoning of these mythologists is deeply flawed. All pharmaceutical companies doing innovative research are multinational in scope, and each does research and markets its products around the world.
The sad truth is that the profits that drive the innovative research conducted by these companies are derived disproportionately from the United States because the other countries control the prices of pharmaceuticals in those countries while we do not.
Yes, the innovations of pharmaceutical companies, those headquartered in the United States and in the countries cited by Mr. Reid and others, are financed primarily by the American consumer and taxpayer. It is a truism, not a myth, that cost control stifles innovation and that truth will be more clearly evidenced if we "control costs" as other nations have done. It's sad (I don't use the word "unfair" because I dislike that word and, after all, life is not fair), but that's the dilemma we face.
Actions have consequences, and people should consider the consequences regarding "innovation" should we adopt certain types of cost control adopted by other countries.