Saturday, October 17, 2015

The US Healthcare Debacle

Jeff Deist and Charles Hugh Smith discuss the absurdly anti-market healthcare system in the US, which has been captured both by regulators and insurance lobbyists.

Why do US consumers tolerate not knowing what drugs and procedures really cost? What will it take to allow market pricing in medicine? Will the best and brightest continue to shun medical school in an age of Obamacare? And will the market overcome the system, through cash-only clinics, concierge care arrangements, and medical tourism? If you're outraged by what the state has done to the profession of medicine, stay tuned for great interview.


  1. The healthcare sharing loophole in the ACA was the easiest way for me to deal with it as a small business owner(it was also 1/3 the cost), and if you read the fine print you don't have to be a believer per se, just use an ACA recognized healthcare sharing ministry that's recognized that allows you in....

  2. Streetwise Father Takes On Sloan Kettering to Save His Sick Son

    From his days as a troubled teenager on the gritty South Side of Chicago, Patrick Girondi has never shirked a fight.
    Even on his way to making a fortune as a commodities trader, he said, he was fired from one job for “socking someone” on the trading floor.
    Now Mr. Girondi, a high school dropout, is in a fight of a different kind — against the august Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center over the rarefied field of gene therapy. It is a fight, he said, to save his son.
    Mr. Girondi accuses the cancer center of dawdling on developing a gene therapy that could potentially cure his son of an inherited blood disease called beta thalassemia, or Cooley’s anemia. The disease often kills people by their late 20s — an age his son will reach in a few years.
    Ten years ago, when few companies were interested in gene therapy, Sloan Kettering licensed the rights to an experimental treatment to Errant Gene Therapeutics, a tiny firm started by Mr. Girondi. But after being accused by the cancer center of not fulfilling its obligations to move the therapy toward the market, Errant Gene ceded its rights in 2011.
    Now, because of technological progress, gene therapy is considered highly promising. A company called Bluebird Bio has a market valuation exceeding $3 billion, largely on the basis of a very similar gene therapy for beta thalassemia and sickle cell anemia, which has had strong results in early clinical trials.
    But while the well-financed Bluebird races ahead, the project at Sloan Kettering appears to have languished. In the absence of other therapy, Mr. Girondi’s son gets blood transfusions every 18 days and takes 10 pills daily to reduce the toxic iron that builds up in his blood and organs.
    In a lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan, Errant Gene is demanding to regain control of the project. It accuses Sloan Kettering of sitting on the therapy because the cancer center’s president, Dr. Craig B. Thompson, has ties to Third Rock Ventures, the venture capital firm that bankrolled Bluebird. Third Rock also financed Agios Pharmaceuticals, a company of which Dr. Thompson is a co-founder.
    The main evidence offered by Errant Gene is that its relationship with Sloan Kettering started to sour just as Dr. Thompson took office in late 2010.
    Mr. Girondi has supporters, particularly among patient advocacy groups, who wonder why Sloan Kettering has not announced a deal with a different company in the four years since it took back the rights to the therapy.
    “He’s a great guy, very driven, as I am, and passionate about this,” said Ronald F. Capano, who heads Cooley’s Anemia International, which contributed money to Sloan Kettering for the gene therapy project.
    “Unfortunately we have no idea what’s going on at Memorial Sloan Kettering anymore,” Mr. Capano said.