As health care reform inches closer to reality, a massively important question becomes even more pressing: Will ObamaCare kill the sorts of medical innovation that makes the United States the leader in bringing new treatments, technology, and procedures to market?
"America is the only industrialized nation that doesn't have a national health plan," says Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), former Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.), and countless others who want the United States government to guarantee health coverage to all.
Protesters at a recent rally in downtown Los Angeles demanded universal coverage. They told Reason.tv that America is a cruel land where profits come before people.
"It's disgusting!" said one woman. "There should be no profits in health care!" What about those who argue that profits drive medical innovation? "I think that's kind of sick," declared another protester, who wants the U.S. to be more like Canada, where government policy keeps drug prices, and drug company profits, lower than in America.
Many regard the profit motive as cruel, but might it actually produce compassionate results? After all, America has generated vastly more medical innovations than other nations. Included in the long list is the innovation that saved the life of Dave Christensen, construction supervisor, husband, and father. After being diagnosed with cancer, Christensen was lucky enough to be given a then-experimental drug that probably wouldn't have been developed or brought to market in any other country in the world.
If America follows the lead of the rest of the world and clamps down on profits in health care, who will make tomorrow's wonder drugs?
"Drug companies that take big risks may make big profits," says Reason.tv's Nick Gillespie, who hosts the video. "But I say, Good for them. If they're saving lives, I hope they make a killing."
"Would ObamaCare Kill Medical Innovation?" runs about seven minutes. Producer-Writer: Ted Balaker; Producer: Hawk Jensen; Director of Photography: Alex Manning; Associate Producer: Paul Detrick.
Special thanks to the Independence Institute for arranging and underwriting travel to Canada.
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Original release date: November 23, 2009.