The Leaflet: Like Most Americans, Heartland Supports Health Care Freedom

Published March 22, 2019

For years, The Heartland Institute has advocated for greater freedom and consumer choice in health care. New polling shows Americans overwhelmingly support these common-sense reforms as well.

Ninety-three percent of voters say they support reforms to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that would make “prescription drugs better, available sooner, and at a lower cost.” Similarly, 95 percent of voters believe patients and doctors—not Washington, DC bureaucrats, politicians, or pharmaceutical or insurance company executives—should be “most responsible for making decisions regarding medical treatments and care.”

Conducted by Victory Enterprises in February 2019, the poll surveyed 500 registered voters about health care policy, which a plurality of voters (19.4 percent) identified as the most important policy issue.

To date, the Trump administration (with help from Heartland) has initiated several health care reforms, which Americans widely support.

In 2018, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb approved a record number of new drugs, devices, and generics. Policies that expedite the approval process are expected to continue post-Gottlieb.

Heartland Institute President Tim Huelskamp, Ph.D., applauded the FDA for its accelerated approval of life-saving medicines in a press release. “At the direction of President Trump, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb performed a superb job leading an often slow-moving bureaucracy to approve a record-breaking number of generic drugs over the last year,” said Huelskamp.

In May 2018, Trump signed into law the Right to Try Act (RTT), bipartisan legislation that allows terminally ill patients who have exhausted FDA-approved treatment options to try drugs still undergoing FDA clinical trials. Huelskamp was present at the signing ceremony because of Heartland’s key role in pushing RTT.

Although RTT is a step in the right direction, far too many patients with serious conditions are still not able to access potentially life-saving treatments because of bureaucratic red tape and outdated laws.

As a solution, Heartland advocates Free to Choose Medicine (FTCM), which would create a pathway for all Americans to access affordable medicines. FTCM would extend the benefits of RTT to all patients, not just those with life-threating illnesses. Further, it would allow companies to seek “Observational Approval” from FDA to quickly bring new medicines to market.

FTCM would increase competition in the health care market, resulting in greater access to high-quality, lower-cost drugs. Most importantly, FTCM would give patients more freedom and renewed hope.


What We’re Working On

Energy & Environment
Why We Need a Presidential Commission on Climate Security and Why Will Happer Is the Right Person to Run It (Guest: Paul Driessen)
In this episode of the Heartland Daily Podcast, Heartland Senior Fellow on Environmental Policy H. Sterling Burnett is joined by Paul Driessen of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow to discuss President Donald Trump’s proposed Presidential Commission on Climate Security. This commission would objectively examine the causes and consequences of climate change, which Driessen argues is long overdue. Driessen also argues the proposals to fight purported human caused climate change would cost trillions of dollars and put U.S. national security at risk.

The Invest in Kids Act (Guest: Alissa McCurley-Vogel)
In this episode of the Heartland Daily Podcast, State Government Relations Manager Lennie Jarrett is joined by Alissa McCurley-Vogel to talk about Illinois’ Invest in Kids Tax Credit Scholarship program. The two discuss how the program works and who receives scholarships. McCurley-Vogel also shares stories of some of the recipients, along with statistics on who has donated to the program. McCurley-Vogel also discusses the efforts by Gov. Pritzker and Democrats in the General Assembly to end the program, a move that would be devastating to hundreds of families.

Health Care
Telehealth Empowers Peach State Consumers and Reduces Costs
In this Research & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans examines two bills in Georgia’s legislature that would expand the scope of telehealth services by allowing providers in other states to deliver virtual care. “Telemedicine and telehealth have the potential to provide routine health care services to more people and at a lower cost than traditional in-person delivery. Unfortunately, unnecessary and burdensome government regulations continue to stifle access to telemedicine services,” wrote Glans.

Budget & Tax
New Hampshire Should Avoid Draconian Taxes on E-Cigarettes and Vaping Devices
In this Research & Commentary, State Government Relations Manager Lindsey Stroud discusses several new proposals in the Granite State that would apply a 65 percent tax to e-cigarettes and vaping devices. “E-cigarettes are a robust tobacco harm reduction tool that can provide substantial health care cost savings and deliver revenues to local and state economies. Rather than imposing high and unnecessary taxes on e-cigarettes and vaping devices that hurt smokers looking to quit, lawmakers should focus on combating youth cigarette use,” wrote Stroud.

From Our Free-Market Friends
The Con Is Up: Time for More Freedom in Iowa’s Health Care Market
The Tax Education Foundation Iowa writes about the regulatory hurdles medical providers face when trying to set up new medical facilities in Iowa. In particular, certificate of need (CON) laws are used by existing providers to protect their profits and status by keeping potential competitors out of the medical market. In 2015, Strategic Behavioral Health (SBH) proposed to build a facility in the Quad Cities for mental health services. However, two established hospitals opposed SBH, using CON laws to argue their hospitals were already meeting the demand for mental health services in the area.


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