A month ago I wrote a blog bemoaning the horrible fate of a miracle cure, Sovaldi, that cures hep C but costs $100,000 for a course of treatment. The media, insurance companies and Medicare are screaming to try and force the developer, Gilead, to lower the price.
I explained my outrage and my concern that cures for many diseases that my children and grandchildren will experience will not be developed because of this Obama care byproduct: The hysterical Lefty demand to control market prices can destroy research and innovation.
My son has pointed out to me that this may not be the case. Rich people in Canada come to the United States for medical treatment. Medical tourism is growing at geometric rates as some people cross the Mexican border for expensive dental care while others go to Thailand for cosmetic surgery. Americans already travel to the Cleveland Clinic for heart issues, the Mayo Clinic for diagnosis and many other places that are not covered by their insurance.
There is even a town in Japan (Koriyama City) that has invested heavily in a hospital and adjacent hotels for people who want proton cancer therapy, a highly successful and expensive tumor treatment. There are clearly enough people willing to travel. The trivial cost of an airline ticket is added to their cost of medical treatment. Enough people want to survive.
With this prospect, I begin to understand that pharmaceutical companies will continue to invest in new medical cures and treatments. The market may no longer be concentrated in the United States and may be distributed around the world, but at this point in history there is enough money globally to justify the research investments.