The Affordable Care Act (which out of respect for our President, I will refer to as Obamacare) represents enormous progress towards providing all Americans a security that citizens of other nations take for granted. We should celebrate and defend its provisions.
But we should improve them as well. I would support legislation that would add a public option to the insurance mandate of Obamacare. I would also support legislation that would repeal the ban on the government negotiating lower prices for drugs.
Beyond Obamacare, I would support reforms that would make pharmaceuticals more affordable. No one doubts that developing a safe and effective drug is expensive. But we should experiment with other mechanisms for covering the cost of that research. I would support prize fund proposals for drug research, given in exchange for waiving patent protection. And I would work to ban agreements that permit drug companies to negotiate with generic drug providers to delay entry of generic drugs into the market.
These reforms would challenge the most powerful forces in Washington today. Pharmaceutical and insurance companies are among the most profitable in the world, and among Washington’s biggest lobbyists. But the reforms are feasible once The First Reform is complete.