Will the ACA kill health IT innovation?

Americans enjoy the benefits of new drugs and devices earlier than the rest of the world--and pay more for them, just as those who rush out to buy the latest iPhone do. Those higher prices pay for the research and development of those innovations. If costs are regulated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, some question whether R&D will be stymied. Mike Stopa, writing at American Thinker, believes that will be the case.

Stopa, a Harvard nanophysicist, is a Republican candidate in a special election in Massachusetts' Fifth Congressional District to succeed Edward Markey (R-MA) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"… it is not too much to suggest that the day that President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, my children's life expectancy dropped by ten years. And so did yours," he writes.

He argues that it's worth it to Americans to pay R&D costs to fuel innovation.

"This cost to the American consumer does not come without a benefit. Americans are the first to have drugs like AZT, Cimetidin, tPA and new cancer drugs. … Medical devices used for everything from medical assaying for disease tests, to high technology tools used in open heart surgery, to the latest MRI equipment are also available earlier and in greater volume in the U.S.," he writes.  

"… the real devastating consequence of the Affordable Care Act will be that as government regulations take over research and development in medicine, the medical miracles that we have grown accustomed to for the last 100 years will dwindle and cease."

It's true that doctors are uncertain how ACA mandates will affect their practices, and hospital executives aren't clear on how they will handle millions of new patients insured under the health exchanges.

Republican senators have said they will work to repeal the 2.3 percent medical device tax, which Utah's Orrin Hatch has called "one of the stupidest aspects" of the ACA. The tax--intended to help pay for costs associated with the healthcare reform law--is a point of contention for many legislators, as well as device makers, innovators and providers.

To learn more:
- read the American Thinker piece

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