By J. Thomas Shaw
Despite spending more than any other nation in the world on health care, only 15 percent of Americans believe we’ve got the world's best, according to a recent Pew Research Center and Gallup Poll.
The CIA’s “World Factbook” says the United States is ranked No. 50 for average life expectancy and the average age at death is 78.49 years – more than 11 years behind No. 1 ranked Monaco.
This is the price of a make-money-at-any-cost health-care system.
I have a three-step plan that will transform medical research and the health-care system, taking us from No. 50 to No. 1 for life expectancy by 2030 – if we act now. At the same time, it will cut our health-care spending in half and drive down insurance premiums, making coverage affordable for the vast majority of people.
Half of the country is demanding that the government stay out of health care while the other half is supporting a quasi-socialized health care system. With such vehemently opposing views, there is no chance for a consensus. Therefore, nothing will ever get done that moves us in the right direction. And this is exactly what Big Pharma wants.
Therefore, the first step is to change the debate. From Hillarycare through Obamacare, we have been debating health-care costs and health-insurance coverage. Cost and coverage are not the problems; they are symptoms of the real problems which are unidentified root causes for disease and a lack of cures.
The next step is to stop donating money to the mega health charities that take in tens of millions of dollars annually by offering hope to find a cure. They continually come up empty as a result of Big Pharma's influence over medical research. Instead, not-for-profit universities conducting medical research need to sever their ties to Big Pharma and seek funding from private citizens.
The majority of medical researchers want to be involved in discovering the causes and cures for human ailments, but they also have to live and they know who butters their bread. If private individuals fund this research, then our nation's medical researchers no longer need to be beholden to Big Pharma.
The third step is to fight fire with fire. Like any other publicly traded company, Big Pharma has a fiduciary responsibility to increase shareholder value by enacting business plans that will increase revenues and profits year over year. In the current environment, the best way to accomplish that is to get more people reliant on (addicted to) the drugs they produce.
Big Pharma's mission is not necessarily to get every single American popping their daily maintenance drugs, rather it is to make as much money as possible and selling addictive maintenance drugs is the best way to accomplish that as things stand now.
We need to change the tax code and enact legislation to make their pursuit of profits align with the greater good of the health our citizens.
This can be accomplished with a carrot and a stick. First we need to show Big Pharma the stick:
1. Institute a windfall profits tax on profits derived on any new products that are considered maintenance drugs.
2. Eliminate deductions for research and development expenses associated with maintenance drugs.
Next is the carrot:
1. Eliminate income tax paid on the profits generated by any product that cures a human ailment -- for eternity.
2. Offer permanent patent protection on any new product that offers a real cure. Expand patent protection to natural cures documented in human trials.
3. Fix pricing on drugs that cure human disease to make it as profitable to cure as it is now to maintain.
This is all about money. If we have the courage to make those changes to the tax code and enact this type of meaningful health care reform, in 15 to 20 years, we will have a cure for nearly every human disease known to man. In addition, the cost of health insurance will be affordable for almost everyone and the vast majority of us will end up living much longer and more productive and healthier lives.
About J. Thomas Shaw
J. Thomas Shaw is the author of “The RX Factor,” a fact-based thriller that pits one man against Big Pharma and the FDA. Fact-based fiction has the power to bring people from all walks of life together and focus on a single issue. Check it out at www.therxfactor.com.