Author:

Logan Sweeney

The War on Drug (Prices)

Prescription medications are one of the most common forms of health care intervention, with approximately sixty-six percent (66%) of adults in the United States using prescription drugs. Prescription drugs can provide major benefits to an individual as well as the general population’s health; if successful, prescription drugs can lead to longer and higher-quality lives. However, as drug prices rise unnecessarily, nearly a fourth of American patients experience difficulty affording their medications. A majority of these patients are people with lower incomes and those who are nearing Medicare age.

The United States has higher drug prices than all other developed nations, where in 2010 the average post-rebate medication price was fifteen percent (15%) higher in the United States than in Canada, France, and Germany.  Domestic drug companies argue that the price is due to the cost of research and development, however it is the lack of market regulation by the United States government that allows these exorbitant prices. In response to the outcry against high drug prices, on September 13, 2020, President Trump signed an Executive Order on Lowering Drug Prices by Putting America First. The Order includes a “most favored nations” pricing scheme that includes both Medicare Parts B and D, meaning that Medicare now is able to refuse to pay more for drugs than other developed nations. However, this is not enough. The United States needs to take action at both the state and federal level to ensure that prescription drugs are accessible and affordable to all Americans.

How Will Stronger Internet Privacy and Election Laws Impact Facebook?

During his election campaign, President Trump hired Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm, to gain access to the private data of more than 50 million Facebook users. The data included users’ personal identities, friend networks, and “likes.” The election campaign and Cambridge Analytica team used users’ data to target political and digital ads, increase online fundraising, and reach out to and sway undecided voters.

In 2019, following intense public criticism and accusations of political bias and censorship, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, began advocating for the regulation of four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy, and data portability. However, no legislation has been passed, no regulation has been implemented, and Zuckerberg has not offered support for any proposals. A blank promise with no action. Congress needs to work with countries around the globe in order to regulate Facebook as a public utility and ensure that hate speech and incitements of violence are not tolerated. 

Voting in the 2020 Election

Most United States citizens have certain expectations when they go to their polling station; voters expect to stand in a line, to be handed a ballot by an official, or to vote on a touch screen system. Yet, amid COVID-19, for many Americans, going to a polling station presents too many opportunities for the transmission of the virus. As a result of the danger of voting in-person and the desire to vote by mail, it is projected that the United States Postal Services (hereinafter “USPS”) will deliver an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots.