Since health care reform wasn’t already complex and cumbersome enough, John Stossel presented a whole new dimension to the debate last night. While most that are skeptical of the government’s hand in medicine limit their concerns to government-run health care, Stossel is wary of federal drug regulations, accusing the FDA of “protecting us to death.”
Stossel made his weekly O’Reilly Factor appearance last night to send a sharp message to the federal government: keep out of individual consumption and abolish the FDA. Stossel argued to a not-entirely-convinced Bill O’Reilly that private groups should be responsible for evaluating the risks and benefits of certain drugs. O’Reilly response was a personal anecdote about a cholesterol-lowering drug putting his “liver on a stick” without him having been able to find the information that would have told him this was a possible side effect, to which Stossel replied, “If you weren’t such a meek, passive person trusting the government, you would have read up before you took [the medication].”
Stossel argued that private consumer reports would be enough to keep the companies on their toes, but a private system would be based on trial and error and on trusting the drug companies, with no authority to coerce them into honesty. Stossel’s “private” version of the FDA would look something like the current news media, with consumers picking and choosing who they trust based on personal biases. This works great in a field where the product of consumption is the bias itself, but when the product of consumption can potentially kill the consumer, the stakes change and an impartial authority should take control.
This segment was likely a victory for O’Reilly. That said, John Stossel is increasingly becoming an indispensable voice in the world of political commentary, if only for finding and exposing the most obscure and fascinating corners of issues most people who follow cable news are sick of hearing about ad naseum. While everyone is up in arms about Obama’s socialist policies, Stossel is afraid of becoming a vassal in a neo-feudal system. When the mainstream right expresses concern over a government-run health care system, Stossel points out the pitfalls of government-run drug regulation. Agree with his stances or not, they certainly are refreshing.
Watch the segment below:
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