An Executive order on drug prices is unconstitutional

KEY TAKEAWAY: Trump’s threat to issue an executive order on drug pricing, if issued, will be overturned as “unconstitutional”. There are no quick fixes to rein on excessive healthcare costs. They can only be addressed through a thorough bipartisan review of the way our healthcare system function.

I learned a lot when I studied law, especially Constitutional law. Even though the courts may be stacked with judges on the right an executive order on drug pricing is clearly unconstitutional and won’t do anything but further cloud our dysfunctional healthcare system.

First let’s look at some hard truths:

1ne:  Insurance companies are routinely criticized for high prices. Premiums continue to rise faster than inflation. And while Americans struggle to find affordable plans, leading insurance company executives report staggeringly high annual incomes. Since passage of the Affordable Care Act, David Cordani, CEO of Cigna, has taken home more than $140 million of compensation. Yet he feels poor compared to Stephen Hemsley, the CEO of UnitedHealthGroup, who has made almost $300 million.

2wo:  PBMs are keeping a smaller share of rebates and passing more along to their clients. Instead, PBMs are collecting more revenue through various fees — the same shift the Trump administration envisions — and through a practice called “spread pricing,” according to a Pew analysis.

3hree: On a per capita basis, health spending has increased over 30-fold in the last four decades, from $355 per person in 1970 to $10,739 in 2017. In constant 2017 Dollars, the increase was almost 6-fold from $1,797 In 1970 to $10,739 in 2017. Health spending growth has outpaced the growth of the U.S. economy.

4our: Hospital stays are expensive — adding up to more than $384.5 billion a year in the US, according to recent data. The average hospital stay costs over $10,000, but the amount varies widely depending on the medical condition. The top 35 most expensive conditions account for more than 70% of all hospital costs in the US.

What does all this mean? It clearly shows that our healthcare system is too profitable for companies to resist. Once they enter the cash pit they become servants to Wall Street who want more and more profits.

If Trump issues an executive order on drug pricing it WILL BE overturned. We are all angry at the cost of healthcare and health insurance but we need to use this anger for real-world solutions not quick fixes.