This week, FreedomWorks flew activists to Washington, DC to teach them about the International Pricing Index(IPI) and to lobby Congress against it. I had the opportunity to be one such activist and meet with Senator David Perdue’s staffer as well as a number of other Congressmen. It was also a great opportunity to meet with like-minded folks from Georgia and other nearby states.
What is the International Pricing Index?
So what is the IPI anyway? In short, it’s a price control scheme for pharmaceuticals. We’ve all heard about the high cost of certain pharmaceuticals in the news lately. This is the governments attempt to “fix it.” It ties the price of drugs to the price of those drugs in other countries, some of which have completely socialized healthcare.
Who is Pushing the International Pricing Index?
Among those pushing for the IPI is Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar (formerly an exec at pharma giant Eli Lily) is pushing this policy. Republican Senators Josh Hawley(R-MO) and Rick Scott(R-FL) have introduced the Transparent Drug Pricing Act which includes the same “fairness” policy in regards to setting prices at the same level as other nations. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Representative Elijah Cummings(D-MD) have introduced a bill to do the same thing. This is a bipartisan effort to set price controls will further entangle the government into healthcare and further hogtie the innovation that could make lasting change.
What Would The International Pricing Index Accomplish?
Simply put, price controls do not work. Whenever a government has attempted to reduce costs for consumers by setting, capping, or stabilizing the cost of goods, the result has been the same. Demand spikes at the artificially low price, and supply shortages follow. Consumers begin to hoard goods at lower costs, and anticipation of a disruption to supply. Rationing inevitably follows, giving government control over who can and cannot, receive the product when supplies are constrained. Shortages of products in the pharmaceutical market have catastrophic effects for millions of Americans and their healthcare needs, and feed ever more power over our choices to Washington. In short, this is yet another government “solution” that will only make the problem worse.