Bending the Productivity Curve: How Would Health Care “Reform” Affect Medical Innovation?

Policy Forum
November 20, 2009 12:00PM
Auditorium/Wintergarden
Featuring Raymond Raad, New York Presbyterian Hospital / Weill Cornell Medical Center, and Coauthor, “Bending the Productivity Curve: Why America Leads the World in Medical Innovation”; Gerard Anderson, Director, Center for Hospital Finance and Management, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health; and John E. Calfee, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute. Moderated by Michael F. Cannon, Director of Health Policy Studies, Cato Institute, Coauthor of Healthy Competition: What’s Holding Back Health Care and How to Free It.

New research by the Cato Institute shows that America generates more medical innovations than any other country, and in some cases, more than all other countries combined. Medical innovation may be more important than covering the uninsured or controlling health care spending, inasmuch as a treatment must first be invented before its costs can be reduced and its use extended to everyone. The Democrats’ health care legislation focuses on expanding health insurance coverage, which should encourage innovation—yet it does so by expanding price controls, government purchasing, and health insurance regulation, which reduce innovation. What would be the net effect? What are the alternatives?