Today, the House Oversight Committee is holding an important hearing entitled "The Role of Pharmacy…
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House Hearing Spotlights Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) as Drivers of Higher Drug Prices

Today, the House Oversight Committee is holding an important hearing entitled "The Role of Pharmacy Benefit Managers in Prescription Drug Markets Part III:  Transparency and Accountability."

For those unfamiliar, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) amount to middlemen that control prescription drugs for millions of Americans.  A majority of Americans receive health insurance through employer plans or government programs such as Medicare, which in turn cover prescription drugs through PBMs.  Those PBMs negotiate with drug companies and pay pharmacies, but throughout the process determine the drugs that insured patients may obtain and at what cost.

The problem is that PBMs operate in such an opaque and complex manner that they're able to inflate drug costs while claiming to be working…[more]

July 23, 2024 • 04:57 PM

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, Among the Trump Administration’s Best Appointments Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, December 03 2020
The federal government will be worse off for Chairman Pai’s departure, but Americans everywhere, whether they supported or mindlessly opposed him, are better off for his leadership.

If asked to identify President Trump’s finest and most effective appointments, most people would reflexively name Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and now Amy Coney Barrett.  

To be sure, that sterling trio is already delivering positive returns by minimizing the influence of the increasingly scornful and popularity-obsessed Chief Justice John Roberts.  For delightful illustration, look no further than last week’s 5-4 First Amendment religious freedom decision, which sent Roberts into a jurisprudential tantrum-throwing tailspin of dissent.  

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, however, rivals those justices in the pantheon of Trump Administration appointees.  

Chairman Pai, who announced his resignation effective January 20, 2021, constitutes an appointment whose leadership and fortitude amid unhinged public assault (including death threats and the full onslaught by the airheaded latenight comedian corps) may have delivered positive policy results to an even greater immediately tangible degree.  In contrast to the more indirect and long-term impact of judicial appointments, the fruits of Chairman Pai’s leadership have been more immediate and direct to a wider swath of Americans.  

And he accomplished it all through unwavering fidelity to deregulatory and free market principles.  

Most saliently, Chairman Pai disregarded the unhinged vitriol directed toward him by immediately unwinding the Obama Administration FCC’s disastrous two-year “Net Neutrality” experiment.  To recap, the Obama FCC under former Chairman Tom Wheeler got the bright idea that what the internet really needed after twenty years of flourishing like no innovation in human history was the heavy hand of federal bureaucratic regulation.  They literally redesignated internet service as a “public utility” under Depression-era laws.  Between 1996 and 2015, through presidents of both parties, the internet had grown under a “light touch” regulatory approach.  But the Obama FCC in its infinite wisdom decided to impose an illusory “solution” to a non-existent “problem.”  

The negative consequences were immediate and concrete.  For the first time in history outside of an economic recession, private broadband investment actually fell following the Obama FCC’s “Net Neutrality” debacle.  Even the name itself was farcical, as there’s nothing “neutral” about the federal government stepping in to regulate something that had been doing just fine.  

So upon taking office, Chairman Pai initiated his Restoring Internet Freedom proposal, and the positive results were just as immediate and palpable as the negative results of the Obama FCC’s debacle two years earlier had been.  Specifically, private broadband investment reascended, and U.S. internet download speeds rose nearly 40% in just the first year, while upload speeds increased by over 20%.  

Restoring internet freedom following the Obama FCC’s “Net Neutrality” catastrophe would’ve cemented Chairman Pai’s positive legacy standing alone.  But his achievements extended far beyond that.  

The FCC under Chairman Pai’s leadership significantly bridged the “digital divide” by directing billions of dollars toward broadband buildout, reduced bureaucratic roadblocks to innovation and investment, spurred tele-health initiatives and even cultivated innovations in precision agriculture.  

Additionally, amid the dawn of the 5G era, the FCC under Chairman Pai accelerated innovation and investment in 5G deployment, broadened protections for American consumers from illegal and unwanted robocalls and addressed public safety concerns by improving 911 connections and emergency alerts.  

Just as significantly, Chairman Pai moved the FCC toward freeing up unused spectrum, which is critical to extending broadband availability to rural areas, Indian reservations and other underserved areas.  Opening up unused spectrum also allows more Americans to connect to the internet via wifi and other devices, which we utilize on an increasing basis.  

Moreover, Chairman Pai’s initiatives prepared the U.S. for the unexpected coronavirus pandemic better than other advanced nations, allowing a smoother transition to telecommuting and remote schooling without the capacity breakdowns experienced in places like Europe.  

Beyond his substantive achievements, however, Chairman Pai served as a role model for political leaders and everyday Americans in an era of increasing partisan demonization and harassment.  He and his family persisted in their positive market-oriented, deregulatory agenda despite death threats, mass protests outside of his home, harassment from uninformed latenight comedians and antagonistic politicians and predictions of internet disaster.  

The federal government will be worse off for Chairman Pai’s departure, but Americans everywhere, whether they supported or mindlessly opposed him, are better off for his leadership.  

It’s now up to political leaders and the American electorate to recognize his achievements and preserve them moving forward against malign interests that will seek to reverse them to our collective detriment.  

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