Guest Post: Lowering Healthcare Costs the Wrong Way


This guest post was submitted by Michael Fedorchak, the North Dakota state director for Americans for Prosperity.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of two things: the high price of medical care in the United States and the amazing innovation that defines our healthcare system and allows patients to access life-saving medications and treatments. But, while the United States leads the world in medical innovation, healthcare prices remain a top concern for many Americans and North Dakotans.

In an attempt to lower medication prices, the North Dakotan state legislature is pushing SB 2170, a bill that pins our state’s prescription drug prices to those in Canada. There are certainly good intentions behind this bill, but like many legislative proposals, it’s misguided and does not account for the unintended consequences.

By introducing these price controls, the state government is grossly oversimplifying how medication prices are determined, and it disregards the many stakeholders involved in the ultimate price consumers pay. To properly address rising prescription medication prices in the United States, lawmakers must fully understand the role of insurers as well as their pharmacy benefit managers.

What’s more, tying North Dakota’s medication prices to those of a socialist healthcare system will undoubtedly lead to fewer medication options for our state’s most vulnerable populations. The fact is, capping the price on certain medications could make those medications unavailable in the state, putting lawmakers directly in between patients and their doctors. The government should never be in the position of determining what treatments should be available to our state’s residents.

Setting price controls are also detrimental to researching and developing new medications. At a time when research and development quite literally saved us from the COVID-19 pandemic, we shouldn’t be setting such a dangerous, anti-innovation precedent.

It is no secret that price controls are ineffective and free market competition drives real results. SB 2170 is not the answer to America’s healthcare issues. Adding more government oversight and bureaucracy to an already complicated system will only cause confusion and allow prices to rise in other ways. Rejecting SB 2170 and utilizing a free market will drive competition among manufacturers to find cheaper and more effective alternatives.

Lawmakers must reject SB 2170.