The United States faces various problems in the realm of healthcare. The issue of access to its services is outstanding and is, in many ways, related to the high prices of drugs. This tendency causes inequality and destructively affect the underprivileged groups of the society. The government should either change the entire system and control the drug provision and prices more or seek other solutions.
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To begin with, it is essential to understand why drug prices in the U.S. are higher than in the rest of the world. The primary cause lies in the fact that companies in America do not have limitations and, hence, set the prices they will (The Economist, 2016). Moreover, Medicare rewards physicians “prescribing costly intravenous drugs” (The Economist, 2016, p. 3). Thus, there are systematic factors of high drug prices.
Another problem is posed by the so-called “free riding” countries. The argument is that other states do not feel the need to pay for drugs as much as the U.S. does (Jena, 2018). However, experts disagree with the point as pharmaceutics providers seek global profit, especially when they invest in research and development (Jena, 2018). Hence, this argument does not appear to be convincing enough.
As for the “Iron Triangle” situation, it seems to be indeed present in the realm of medical healthcare. These policy-making dynamics of different parties’ interests synergy can be rationally explained in the sphere of drug provision. The industry is hugely profitable, and, hence, the stakes of the parties grow higher. Therefore, the “Iron Triangle” is almost inevitable in healthcare as long as such the situation occurs in America.
Finally, it is vital to discuss whether the U.S. government should introduce price control. Even though the system as it is today has significant disadvantages that destructively affect American citizens, such measures would mean changing the entire approach to the market and social sphere. If American society is ready to move left and control an essential part of the market, then the price control policy must be implemented.
To conclude, drug prices create another dimension of social inequality in the community based on individuals’ financial opportunities. The underprivileged groups find themselves in a tight position being unable to acquire the expensive but essential drugs while the industry benefits from such prices. This situation appears to be a demonstration of an “Iron Triangle” in American politics, which requires either systemic healthcare reforms or new approached.
Jena, A. (2018). US drug prices higher than in the rest of the world, here’s why. The Hill. Web.
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The Economist. (2016). Why drug prices in America are so high. Web.