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Critical Condition

NRO’s health-care blog.

Those Little Blue Pills



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John Graham flags below what is a truly embarrassing bit of rhetoric from the president: “If there’s a blue pill and a red pill and the blue pill is half the price of the red pill and works just as well, why not pay half price for the thing that’s going to make you well?”

Sure, sounds great. Of course, having the government prescribe the blue pill for a certain ailment means the company that produced the red pill will see their investment in its development go unrewarded. In such a regime, how many other red pills — that might someday treat other ailments — go undeveloped, precluding the possibility of the copycat blue-pill version?

Is the president that ignorant of how the free market works? Or does he hope Americans are that ignorant? In another context, he described how lower health-care costs for businesses would mean more money for salaries and inventory; profit was notably absent — but so was R&D for new products.

From where does the president think the blue pills come?


UPDATE: This post has been updated to reflect the president’s exact quote.



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