The price of a cure

At a time when health care and its costs are center stage in the United States, it is interesting to note that a medical establishment that is so opposed to “socialized medicine” seems intent on making it inevitable.

Take a look at three news stories from Tuesday and see why it is hard not to reach that conclusion:

1. Hawaii U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono announced Tuesday that she has joined the growing chorus of Democratic voices backing Sen. Bernie Sanders’ bill calling for Medicare for all.

2. Median household income in the United States reached $59,039 last year — an all-time high.

3. The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the first gene therapy treatment for use in the United States. Kymriah from health care giant Novartis will be used to treat a form of leukemia. It will cost $475,000.

Hirono reiterated in an interview with us several weeks ago what she has been stating for years — health care is a right, not a privilege. So, it is not surprising that she views a single-payer system as a guarantee of universal health care.

The second item above seems to be very good news. Household incomes are on the rise again in the United States.

The third item also seems to be good news — gene therapies are on the way.

It is only when you combine items two and three that one sees the bad news:

A treatment of the new gene therapy would cost an American household eight years’ worth of income.

Gene therapies now in development are designed to treat rare diseases. But if modifying DNA to prevent or cure illnesses works, more and more such therapies will be developed. With costs unchecked, medical inflation will reach new heights.

If the free market won’t rein itself in, government will. Hello single-payer.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.