A chill wind is blowing through Washington D.C. this morning and it is not just the cold front from the North blowing away the warm Autumn sun of yesterday. Yesterday, the Obama health reforms took their first step on a long and perilous road through the legislature when the Senate Finance Committee passed the preliminary proposals set before it. Looking at this from the perspective of a champion of the European industry you might think that I would be rubbing my hands and breaking out the champagne.
A $40 billion tax on the industry included in the proposals would see investment flowing out of the industry in the USA and into Europe and other regions. I am not celebrating, however, because if you look at the world from the perspective of the patient you will soon realise that striking at the heart of one of the most innovative sectors of the US economy will ultimately result in a dilution of the global innovation pipeline. This will slow the contribution that this sector can make to creating sustainable and cost effective health systems the world over.
So the industry’s challenges in the USA may resonate around the globe if this approach is maintained. The US Government in their laudable goal of creating universal coverage run the risk of killing the goose that laid the golden egg … and can lay more.
Just off to see Bill Clinton now… he is addressing AdvaMed’s annual conference over breakfast today.
– John Wilkinson, Chief Executive, Eucomed