Letter: Private investment and health care in America

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) A vial of saline and the Pfizer COVID19 vaccine at the Woods Cross High School pop-up clinic by Nomi Health, April 27, 2021. County and regional health districts are setting up vaccination clinics in high schools, to get the COVID-19 vaccine to 16- and 17-year-olds.

Gordon Jones infers that private investment brought us remarkably fast COVID-19 vaccines (“Private investment was key for COVID-19 vaccine,” The Tribune).

Actually, Operation Warp Speed, a public/private partnership, gets the credit on this one. According to a Wikipedia article, Congress under the CARES Act provided an initial $10 billion funding in late March 2020, with another $8 billion allocated in October 2020.

As for what’s more typical with private investment, consider a drug I’m likely to take the rest of my life, Tafamidis aka Vyndamax. The good news is that it’s said to slow progression of my rare heart disease and for that reason I’m anteing up the cost. List price is said to be $22K per year; Medicare part D knocks it down to about $13K. I’m grateful I can afford it, but a lot of people can’t. Pfizer offers a subsidy, but I don’t qualify and, I suspect, neither do many people who need it.

This is why Europeans shake their heads in amazement that a wealthy country like the U.S. could be so unwilling to offer affordable health care to all its citizens.

Mike Duncan, Moab

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