San Francisco Health Access Plan Shakedown?

I have long alleged that the real (unstated) objective of San Francisco’s Health Access Plan was to direct more tax money and power to the City’s public health bureaucracy, and the experience so far does nothing to dispel that.

It’s certainly not doing much to get health care to anyone, but it’s laying a mighty regulatory burden on struggling retailers and restaurants, which it taxes to fund its expanded public health bureaucracy in the name of “universal” health care.

Unfortunately (for the bureaucracy), the SF HAP tax dollars are not rolling in as expected – so it’s time for a little shakedown. The City Attorney has charged McKesson, a leading pharmaceutical distributor, with “conspiring to artificially inflate the prices of hundreds of brand-name drugs” that the City bought, since 2001.

What’s remarkable is that the City isn’t going after the drugmakers. Not that it would have any greater merit, but those firms are in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Europe. McKesson is right smack downtown in San Francisco.

Maybe the City Attorney and friends figure that by shaking down firms closer to home, they can better ensure a steady flow of campaign donations from nervous companies.

It matters not: shaking down McKesson will not salvage the SF HAP any better than shaking down the retailers and restaurants does. And it begs the question: If McKesson was rigging prices as far back as 2001, why did it take until 2008 for the City to figure it out?

Maybe it’s time for San Francisco, and all other public jurisdictions in this country, to admit that they do not know how to set prescription drug prices.

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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