On Healthwatch, The Hill’s Healthcare Blog, it has been reported that Tommy Thompson, former HHS chief under President George W. Bush, has suggested that repealing the new healthcare reform law is a futile exercise because the Republicans do not have enough votes to override President Obama’s certain veto. (1.http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/127007-former-hhs-chief-gop-shouldn’t-try-to-repeal-health-reform )
Couldn’t the Republican controlled House defund this poorly prepared, nebulous, bewildering legislation, while its Republican members go about garnering support for a repeal and simultaneously reporting to the American people those remaining Democrats, who are not cooperating? The latter could then be removed at the 2012 elections.
I wonder why Mr. Thompson seems to have developed such compliant resignation to this poorly prepared, bewildering, noxious legislation. Is it related to his appointment as Special Advisor to Tamir Biotechnology, Inc.? (2. http://www.fiercebiotech.com/node/85930/print )
The “Healthcare Reform Gave Biotech Everything It Wanted and More,” including a 12 year period of market exclusivity after FDA approval of the product, which period is independent of patent time frames. (3.http://www.xconomy.com/national/2010/03/24/healthcare-reform-gave-biotech-everything-it-wanted-and-more/ ) Also, there are significant barriers that will limit the entry of large numbers of follow-on biologics (biologic copycat molecules made by generic companies) into the marketplace. (4. Ibid 3.) Biotechnology companies developing reference therapeutics should be ecstatic with the legislation. (5. Ibid 3.)
Is there a connection between Mr. Thompson’s advisory position to a Biotech firm, the new legislation’s favorable stance towards biotech firms, and Mr. Thompson’s advice for the GOP? If there is a connection, I can understand it; Mr. Thompson is trying to do the best he can for the company, which he advises.
But what about the effect of this new legislation on the country as a whole? It creates a huge increase in an Entitlement population (Medicaid) beginning in 2014. This increase in a publicly funded program will not only raise our taxes, it will also significantly increase insurance premiums and deductibles via the purported cost shift mechanism. I am one of the people, who is fed up with the insurance companies’ continued greed-driven gouging of the American people. Moreover, I believe the existence of large entitlement populations is one of the reasons for ongoing socio-economic discrimination in the USA. This attitude needs to be and can be removed from our healthcare system by changes, which effectively remove the words, indigent; poor; entitlement; etc. from our healthcare lexicon. For these reasons, which I believe are more important than the profitability of the biotechnology industry, I believe the new healthcare legislation should be definitively repealed.
Other realities, such as, “many specifics of the healthcare law remaining unknown because Congress punted so many decisions to HHS officials”; that “health care is still being written” and “Secretary Sebelius still has so much to put together in the rules”; “that most people are just bewildered by the magnitude of healthcare and how it’s going to play out” (6. Ibid 1.), lead to the commonsense demand that the entire thing be repealed and that this new Congress start the process over, clearly think it through, and write a completely different, understandable healthcare legislation reform, free of political ideology and beneficial for everyone living in America. It can be done.
R. Garth Kirkwood, MD