Here’s the President again at the Portsmouth, NH town hall on health care reform:
(In response to a gentleman’s question about Medicaid forcing him to take a generic equivalent for Lipitor):
THE PRESIDENT: Now, I want to be absolutely clear here: There are going to be instances where if there is really strong scientific evidence that the generic and the brand name work just as well, and the brand name costs twice as much, that the taxpayer should try to get the best deal possible, as long as if it turns out that the generic doesn’t work as well, you’re able to get the brand name.
The proxy for the taxpayer is the government bureaucrat running the program. At least for this Medicaid patient, he President is in effect saying that, “if there is really strong scientific evidence” of medical equivalence, then a government official, on behalf of the taxpayer, should make the decision for you “to get the best deal possible.”
It’s hard to square this with his earlier statement that “This is not about putting the government in charge of your health insurance.”
Continuing with this same case, the President said:
THE PRESIDENT: So the basic principle that we want to set up here is that — if you’re in private insurance, first of all, your private insurance can do whatever you want. If you’re under a government program, then it makes sense for us to make sure that we’re getting the best deal possible and not just giving drug makers or insurers more money than they should be getting. But ultimately, you’ve got to be able to get the best care based on what the doctor says.
And it sounds like that is eventually what happened. It may be that it wasn’t as efficient — it wasn’t as smooth as it should have been, but that result is actually a good one.
The questioner said “And I had to go through two different trials of other kinds of drugs before it was deemed that I was able to go back on the Lipitor through the New Hampshire Medicaid system.” The President responded, “It may be that it wasn’t as efficient … it wasn’t as smooth as it should have been, but the result is a good one.”
This man had to wait in a line. Earlier the President said about reform, “You will not be waiting in any lines,” and yet in this case, “The result is a good one.”
Other posts in this series: