Small But Positive Steps Towards Health Deregulation

One of the small bits of positive health news concerns a new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule allowing some hearing aids to be sold online or over-the-counter without a prescription.

This rule is expected to save affected patients as much as $3,000 for a pair of hearing aids.

Brian Deese, White House Director of the National Economic Council, said on Twitter, “Requiring prescriptions to buy hearing aids is an unnecessary burden and a barrier to entry for new firms, driving up costs.” I fully agree with this sentiment, and I applaud this new rule.

For now, this only affects patients with mild or moderate hearing loss. Patients with severe hearing loss will still need to get a prescription from a specialist. But this is a move in the right direction towards reducing government regulatory barriers for health products and services.

Deregulation could reduce costs and improve health care value.

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If the White House and Congress want to adopt more reforms along these lines, another great place would be allowing diabetic patients to purchase insulin without a prescription. This could also lower prices for many Americans on a tight budget.

As Cato Institute health policy analyst Michael Cannon notes, “It makes little sense to require diabetics, who are highly knowledgeable repeat consumers of insulin, to obtain prescriptions each time. Canada allows diabetics to purchase any insulin product without a prescription. If the FDA or Congress were to remove those requirements, both the price of insulin and the ancillary costs of obtaining it would fall.”

I wonder how many other medical products and supplies would benefit from similar deregulation? Increased health freedom and lowered health costs would be a win-win for Americans.

Life Sciences, Forbes – Healthcare

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