The 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded today for three researchers who discovered a key mechanism in the genetic operations of cells. Who won this prize? Was it a British team, funded by the NHS? Was it a French team? Was it a Canadian team?

No. It was a group of Americans.

One of the best elements of the American health care system that should be preserved in any health reform effort is innovation. As I’ve written before, much of the world’s research and development takes place in America because it is one of the few places that companies are able to recoup their investment costs. Without the profit motive provided by the American market, innovation and medical breakthroughs would be frozen in time, to the detriment of people around the globe. Companies and research facilities that develop these life-saving technologies should be allowed to dream big and win big – not be regulated and taxed out of existence.

We congratulate these scientists for their work, and are proud that they were able to do so here. But will companies and universities still want to research in the United States if their profits are taxed and their discoveries are subject to arbitrary decisions by a national comparative effectiveness council?

Health reform is needed – but we do not need reforms that penalize medical research. To do so would harm Americans who still wait for yet-to-be-developed vaccines, treatments, and cures.