December 27, 2019

As 2019 draws to a close, the Goldwater Institute is looking back at some of the efforts we’ve been most proud of this year—and looking ahead to where we’re going in 2020.

Of course, people are at the center of everything we do at the Goldwater Institute. Whether it’s in a courtroom, in a state legislature, or in a community, we’re always working to ensure that Americans all across the country can live their lives as they see fit. In 2019, through our investigative reports and feature videos, we shared the stories of many Americans with you—the stories of real people whose lives are affected by government overreach.

Last year, Goldwater Institute National Investigative Journalist Mark Flatten pulled back the curtain on how certificate of need laws are keeping mentally ill Americans from getting the treatment they need, by allowing existing medical providers to veto the construction or expansion of facilities even in the face of demonstrated need. This year, we took you to Iowa to see firsthand the damage that certificate of need has done to real Iowans—how it’s criminalizing the state’s mentally ill. In a documentary video, we introduced you to a mother whose mentally challenged son was thrown in jail instead of receiving needed mental health treatment, and to a sheriff struggling with minimal resources to handle patient transportation in a state hampered by too few treatment facilities.

And earlier this year, Flatten released a report on how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is using criminal charges and threats to silence drug manufacturers. Howard Root is a perfect example of that: As CEO of medical device company Vascular Solutions, Root faced jail time because a handful of his company’s sales representatives, against Root’s orders, had discussed potential off-label uses for one of the company’s devices, the Vari-Lase short kit, with physicians. We shared Root’s story—and how patients suffer from limits on off-label communication—in a video released in April. Root and his company were ultimately acquitted of all charges, but no medical device CEO should have to go through what Root experienced, especially when patient care can be improved by changing the law.

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