Privatization and the price of health care

I sent this letter to the Boston Globe on February 20 2022

To the Editor,  The price of healthcare is well beyond what most Americans can pay, but Paul Michel in his opinion piece in the Globe on February 20 seems to pay no attention to that fact nor how it came about.  The problem is that instead of paying attention to public health measures privatized American medicine has focused on patentable research and then used it to dramatically raise prices.  Dr. Sharita Parthasarathy of the University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy has done an extensive takedown of this approach in her paper “Health Innovation Policy for the People” and I highly suggest that everyone interested in the topic of how to make health care affordable for all Americans read it.  The case of asthma, a major health crisis in Rhode Island points out that almost no research is going into prevention, but little patent upgrades result in the jacking of prices so extensively that kids go without medicine because families cannot afford it despite the knowledge that most asthma is triggered by environmental factors.  The situation with COVID is the same. Public health measures are at least as effective at slowing a pandemic if done well and fully funded, and the privatization of vaccines produced with oodles of public money means that we are likely to see new variants in places that cannot afford vaccines.  

Greg Gerritt