Obama contra Obamacare

NUEVA YORK – La Ley de atención médica asequible y protección a los pacientes, de los Estados Unidos, la reforma de la atención de la salud, marca distintiva del presidente Barack Obama, ha logrado ampliar la cobertura del seguro médico a millones de estadounidenses que no habrían podido tenerlo. Y en contra de las advertencias de sus críticos, no ha provocado que aumenten los precios de la atención a la salud, de hecho, hay esperanzas de que la curva de los precios por fin esté comenzando a disminuir.

N obstante, no es seguro que "Obamacare" vaya a poder limitar los costos excesivamente altos de la atención médica. Eso dependerá de las demás políticas de la administración Obama, sobre todo en una esfera que puede parecer ajena a este tema: las discusiones en curso con la India sobre propiedad intelectual. Aquí, parece que Obama está decidido a socavar su propia reforma que es su marca distintiva debido a la presión del poderoso lobby farmacéutico estadounidense.

Los costos farmacéuticos representan un componente cada vez más grande del gasto en atención a la salud de los Estados Unidos. En efecto, la proporción de gastos en medicamentos en el PIB casi se ha triplicado en apenas 20 años. Así pues, reducir los costos de la atención a la salud requiere mayor competencia en la industria farmacéutica, y eso significa permitir la fabricación y distribución de medicamentos genéricos. En cambio, la administración Obama está buscando un acuerdo con la India que debilitaría la competencia que representan los genéricos y de este modo haría que los medicamentos que pueden salvar vidas fueran inasequibles para miles de millones de personas en la India y en otros lugares. Esto no es una consecuencia involuntaria de una política que por lo demás tuviera buenas intenciones; es el objetivo explícito de la política comercial de los Estados Unidos.

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