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POLICY: PRI has a blog, almost.

Sometimes you just wonder how these press release lists get put together. The Pacific Research Institute, which with its fellow traveler organization the Fraser Institute, has been issuing nutty and just plain wrong "research" about Canadian health care for years, decided to start sending me press releases today. They now have their own blog (well it’s not alive yet but a press release is as good as, dontcha think?). The blog will explain why importing drugs from Canada is a bad idea and why paying more for drugs is a good idea.

Well as they’re nice enough to send me the release I went and looked at their annual report, and if you like pictures of Maggie Thatcher you should go look there too. It does worry me a little when Sally Pipes can only find Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum to quote effusive things about her health care work, but I guess you get praise where you can.

However, their press release also says that they solicit corporate contributions from the health care industry. No biggie, as I do that too (although I call it consulting work!), but you might get the impression that the "research" PRI conducts probably fits the views of certain parts of the health care industry very well. So well that I’m a little surprised PRI only manages to get 15% of its $4.1m budget out of the corporate sector–although it gets another $2m odd from "foundations" which may well be corporate-controlled ones too. But they’re not honest enough in the report to say who it is who’s coughing up.

What you really see from reading the report is that PRI has been somewhat effective in turning a small amount of money into either effective policy interventions or totally muddying the policy waters (take your pick). The end result is that whenever Canadian health care comes up, there is a loony cry from the right that manages to obscure a few basic facts, and makes sure that no rational conversation can be had here about real health reform. Even though the genuinely independent Lewin group showed that single payer would save money in California–a report that sank without trace. So to that extent, this little corner of the vast right wing conspiracy (in San Francisco no less!) is doing its job. Pity that PRI’s claim about individual freedom being the be-all and end-all don’t appear to have transmuted over to a stated position on the drug war or medical marijuana.  Perhaps they don’t notice where they are. The Independent Institute, a more intellectually honest libertarian think tank across the Bay has no such qualms.

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TrapierMatthew HoltforgetitRon Greiner Recent comment authors
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Ron Greiner
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Ron Greiner

Matthew is great. Your letter to the editor yesterday in the “Atlanta Journal-Constitution” was good too. I personally didn’t like the fact that you said, “It may pain conservatives to admit it, but the argument exists that a civilized society must contribute publicly to health care for groups such as the poor or elderly.” President Bush has said that in many speeches. I suspect you know that and this was just a trick to get your letter published. You end with, “The conservative health care platform may require less time to convince the left if it experiments with new market-based… Read more »

Trapier
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Matthew knows a lot. This is a really good blog.

Ron Greiner
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Ron Greiner

I know you are not advertising. It’s just something that is said here a lot.
Your articles are a nice addition. The article about tax credits not helping New York is exactly correct. New York’s premiums are very high and tax credits that will help most of the uninsured in America mean less in that highly regulated state.
If employers consider employee health insurance costs, New York is not the state at the top of the list.
You beat this blog in discussing tax credits.

Trapier
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Mr. Greiner,
I will try and “do better.” I understand that there are many discontents of HSAs, HDHPs, CDHPs, group insurance, employer insurance, individual insurance, the Golden Rule company, etc… The purpose of my blog is to collect relevant news; relevant because it might be good and right and also because it may be bad and wrong. I hope you realize that unless I explicitly advocate the awful scenarios you noted, I don’t, and neither do others. In fact, I hope to contribute to avoiding them.
Trapier
http://www.isemmelweis.com
Ps…I am not advertising anything.

Ron Greiner
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Ron Greiner

Trapier, Thanks for being an HSA supporter. However your first article on your site this morning discusses a group employee health plan that is combined with an HSA. Of course you know if the employee is diagnosed with ovarian cancer and can’t work the employee will be put to COBRA for insurance termination. The HSA is portable but the insurance is not. Terminating young women with no hair leads to depression and depression and cancer is a deadly mix. You might consider discussing how dangerous a group plan is if you become sick. Also, the group plan mentioned has only… Read more »

Trapier
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Dear Matthew, Let me be clear that I do not speak for any of the institutions mentioned. But, in general, Cato does not comment on the drug war as a subset of health, but rather “nanny state,” policy. Cato has an entirely distinct department of Health Policy Studies committed to consumer freedom within the medical process, and I support the logic of that separateness. Meanwhile, Roger Pilon, Cato’s VP for Legal Affairs, does advocate lifting the re-importation ban with “Drug Reimportation: The Free Market Solution,” Cato Policy Analysis No. 521: http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-521es.html Its stated purpose is not, however, to serve “an… Read more »

Matthew Holt
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Trapier. While I applaud you for your well reasoned argument, I must fault you on the basic facts. Despite a world of opportunity, Cato manages to spell out its opposition to the drug war and MM ban in many places, as does II. PRI, as far as I can tell, doesn’t mention it. Furthermore, several free-marketers (including some at Cato) are in favor of parallel imports, describing it as part of free trade. So PRI’s opposition to Canadian imports, which is the major thrust of their to-come blog, must be seen in the context of who else supports that position.… Read more »

Matthew Holt
Guest

Trapier. While I applaud you for your well reasoned argument, I must fault you on the basic facts. Despite a world of opportunity, Cato manages to spell out its opposition to the drug war and MM ban in many places, as does II. PRI, as far as I can tell, doesn’t mention it. Furthermore, several free-marketers (including some at Cato) are in favor of parallel imports, describing it as part of free trade. So PRI’s opposition to Canadian imports, which is the major thrust of their to-come blog, must be seen in the context of who else supports that position.… Read more »

Trapier
Guest

You criticize PRI for its silence on the Drug war and medical marijuana. Have you seriously thought of an explantion for it? As an honest libertarian interested in health policy the first questions I often field, especially from other libertarians not knowledgeable in healthcare, is “what are your thoughts on medical marijuana?” Here’s what I say: “It’s true that the argument for freedom would extend to the use of marijuana, not just for medicinal purposes, but, in any form. And this could in turn extend to other illicit drugs. Yet I don’t plan on making my living fighting for heroine.”… Read more »

Ron Greiner
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Ron Greiner

I assumed he was talking about Rick “Man on Dog” Santorum. If that is the case he better not read any blogs if he is that tender.

Matthew Holt
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So is “forgetit” talking about me or you, Ron. Whatcha think?
And of course the US raiding Canada for drugs would be bad for Canada. Nice to know that you feel that the US should run policies that are good for other countries!

forgetit
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forgetit

I see name calling in place of arguments. Insinuation replacing logic. First visit here and the last one as well.

Ron Greiner
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Ron Greiner

Matthew writes, “The blog will explain why importing drugs from Canada is a bad idea and why paying more for drugs is a good idea.”
Bad for who? The drug companies are warning the Canadians that if they sell to Americans they will be cut off from their low drug prices. So selling drugs to Americans will be bad for those Canadians.