Single-payer model is the only answer to outrageous price hikes

By Robert Rosofsky
The Boston Globe, Letters, Aug. 31, 2016

As both an EpiPen carrier and a public health informatics consultant, I closely follow facts and opinions regarding medication pricing. The Boston Globe’s editorial about Mylan’s pricing of its EpiPens (“EpiPen maker sticks it to patients — again”) provides only a mild call to action — that of modifying provisions in the Affordable Care Act and calling for consumers and elected officials to rail against Mylan.

But Mylan does exactly what it is supposed to do — namely, to take advantage of any market opportunities to enhance shareholder value. Ranting, raving, guilt-tripping, and holding hearings will be ignored, and will likely have minimal effect on Mylan or any other medical product manufacturer engaged in outrageous price increases.

We need another solution — we, the people, need to change the market. We can do this through implementation of a national single-payer financing system for health care. Only through this market change will manufacturers rightly be forced to negotiate with the government — with us — to change their pricing. Otherwise, they will have little other market in which to sell.

As a short-term solution, the laws need to be changed to promote and allow a consortium of Medicare, state Medicaid programs, the military, and the VA to engage in such negotiation.

These are not radical ideas, as they have been implemented throughout the rest of the world and work quite successfully. The United States needs to catch up.

Robert Rosofsky resides in Milton, Mass.