Wall Street Journal Op-Eds Address European Health Care Systems

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The Wall Street Journal recently published two opinion pieces about health care in the U.S. and Europe. Summaries appear below.

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Daniele Capezzone: Policymakers should "confront [Europe's] backward health care systems and unleash the powers of medical research" to provide new preventive and lifesaving medicines to people across the nations,Capezzone, president of the productivity committee of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, writes in a Journal opinion piece. Capezzone writes that the U.S. spends about 78% of global biotechnology research funds, whereas Europe spends about 16%,which gives U.S. residents better access to new treatments. Access topreventive medicines not only saves lives, but it also saves money,Capezzone writes. Capezzone concludes that European countries should start by "expanding drug budgets" and should "deregulate the pharmaceutical industry," as well as give "medical researchers tax incentives to slow the brain drain to the U.S." (Capezzone, Wall Street Journal, 8/3).

Web Golinkin: "Some physician organizations, ... including ones in Illinoisand Massachusetts, are pushing for new regulations that would impede the growth of convenient care clinics" by mandating costly permits,limiting the number of nurse practitioners who can work under one physician and prohibiting advertising that compares clinics' fees tophysicians', Golinkin -- president and CEO of Redi Clinic, one of the largest retail-based clinic chains in the U.S., and director and co-founder of the Convenient Care Association -- writes in a Journal opinion piece. Golinkin writes, "Opposition to convenient care from some parts of the medical community is made under the pretext of wanting to ensure quality and continuity of care, which is a legitimate but, thus far, unfounded concern." According to Golinkin, the"resistance to disruptive change is understandable," but "it does not diminish the fact that the status quo in health care is not working for millions of consumers and that it is economically unsustainable even ifit were." Golinkin concludes that physicians "should be working collaboratively with" retail clinic operators "instead of opposing convenient care" because the clinics help "fill the critical need thatall Americans share for easier access to high-quality, affordable health care" (Golinkin, Wall Street Journal, 8/2).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire KaiserDaily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. 2007Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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