Alexander Zaitchik

Alexander Zaitchik is the author of Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance and, most recently, Out of the Ooze: The Story of Dr. Tom Price.

Recent Articles

How the Government Can Bring Down Drug Prices

It’s done it before when public interest trumps patents.

(Photo: Shutterstock)
(Photo: Shutterstock) W hat if we could save millions of lives, eradicate a contagious disease, and repair a structural defect in the U.S. economy, all by asking the question: What is reasonable? This question—put another way, What is just?—is at the center of a health-care initiative brewing in, of all places, Louisiana. If successful, it could eradicate hepatitis C and put a fatal crack in a drug-pricing system that systematically balloons costs and kills the sick. The word “reasonable” comes from a piece of federal law known as 28 U.S. Legal Code 1498. It establishes the government’s right to infringe on privately held patents, should doing so serve the national interest. The government, in return, is obligated to give the patent holder what the code calls “reasonable compensation.” As with eminent domain, the government determines “reasonable” by the specifics of the case. In the case of the gestating Louisiana initiative, the patent in question covers a grotesquely overpriced new...

Curbing Voting Rights in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, Republicans continue to hobble the state Democratic Party with a new voter-ID law.

On Tuesday morning, Wisconsin's Republican-controlled Elections Committee approved a controversial bill containing major changes to state voting law. If passed in the full Assembly, where it could see a vote as early as next week, the law would end same-day registration, eliminate the straight-ticket voting option on ballots, and require voters to present a state-issued photo ID at the polls. This last provision -- which includes strict guidelines as to what constitutes acceptable identification -- puts Wisconsin in league with more than two dozen other states where Republican lawmakers are pushing voter-ID bills that they claim address the phantom menace of "voter fraud." It has also fueled allegations that Gov. Scott Walker is less concerned with sound policy than with weakening the political power of key Democratic constituencies. The bill's main author and sponsor, Republican Rep. Jeff Stone, claims that the proposed law reflects his party's concern for the "integrity" of the...