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To get better pricing, address drug market

President Trump recently proposed setting Medicare Part B drug prices on an index of prices outside the US. He in effect is proposing price controls. History is littered with failed attempts to control market prices by setting them artificially while ignoring the supply and demand curve that allowed the market price to exist in the first place. A better solution would be to address the market itself.

First, all governmental drug purchases, whether Medicare, Medicaid, VA, or others, should require unified collective purchasing for prices from the drug companies. This is banned under current law. The law should also be changed to allow insurance companies to negotiate lower process based on the higher aggregated volume of their combined demand. These changes would strengthen the demand side of the supply and demand equation and lower prices.

Second, the drug companies should be forbidden from advertising directly to consumers. Drug companies are currently spending millions of dollars to effectively convert consumers into sales people pressing doctors for the advertised drugs. This in turn inflates demand which increases prices.

Drug companies and their lobbyists would fight these changes tooth and nail. The current situation benefits them greatly but at the expense of every drug purchaser within the US. This needs to be changed. Price controls as proposed will not work.



Mascot change: Progress

or plain, simple poppycock?

I grew up in Fayetteville. It was a small town back in 1966 when I started first grade at Root Elementary School. I remember my mother telling me that by the time I started high school, we would have two in Fayetteville. Obviously, that never happened. Fayetteville wasn’t and still isn’t ready to divide our city, making half of our teenagers Bulldogs and the other half something else. Instead, what we have is one huge high school as large as some small colleges. Progress?

Last week, I heard a Ramay student had filed a complaint stating that the school’s mascot was offensive to her. Later, I heard that the school board was going to set up a committee to decide whether to change the mascots of our two beloved junior high schools and a 50-year-plus tradition of (innocent) rivalry between the Woodland Cowboys and the Ramay Indians. I wasn’t concerned: I knew the citizens of Fayetteville weren’t willing to have any student attending high school in our city become anything but a Fayetteville Bulldog. The idea that the Fayetteville school board would even consider doing away with our beloved Cowboys and Indians was unfathomable to me. Political Correctness?

As a student of American history, I am not insensitive or unaware of the history of westward expansion or the destruction of native peoples and their cultures in the United States. I also understand that history shapes culture. Ra-may and Woodland were given mascots that reflected the the culture of the day. It was a good culture. A culture of Saturdays spent watching Disney movies and westerns at the Ozark Theater, evenings spent with our families watching “Bonanza,” “Gunsmoke” and “Andy Griffith” and summer days playing Kick the Can, Cops and Robbers, and Cowboys and Indians with the neighborhood kids. Life was simple then. Somehow, we understood that we were more the same than different. We knew that not everyone makes the team, that teachers were to be respected and our parents were to be obeyed.

I can’t think of anything wrong with continuing a tradition that reflects a purer, simpler time. To me, destroying more than 50 years of Fayetteville’s history and tradition is not progressive or inclusive. It’s poppycock!



Print Headline: NWA LETTERS

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