Occam's Razor encompasses the idea that if you have a simpler and more complicated explanation for the same phenomenon, your default should be to favor the simpler one and you should only prefer the more complicated one if there is good reason to do so. Let me articulate a general principle about pills that I call Pharmaccam's Razor: if you can get through life taking less pills or more pills, your default should be to take less pills, and you should only take more if there is good reason to do so. This isn't an anti-pill position; it's just a pro-pill-parsimony position.
I don't know if Pharmaccam's Razor sounds immediately reasonable to you or if it is something you need to be persuaded about. If the latter, too bad for now, as I'm not writing this post to defend the idea. Instead, what I'm thinking about are its implications.
The main one being: if you believe that taking fewer pills is preferable to taking more pills, you are probably better served by a policy where adding a pill to your life hurts a bit. Note that I am NOT AT ALL saying a policy that keeps you from being able to afford pills you need, but a policy that forces at least some contemplation before adding a prescription.
I mean, if I believe in the basic idea of Pharmaccam's Razor, then why should I be happy to have a health insurance policy in which I pay next-to-nothing for a prescription drug? My plan is basically $5 for a generic drug and $10 for a brand-name drug. I'm not going to present an embarrassing expose here of my spending patterns, but suffice it to say that there is ample evidence that $5 does not provide much of an economic disincentive to me.
The thing is, of course, I'm actually paying extra to have the pricing plan that I do. Given that employers never tire of pointing out that their contribution to your health insurance is part of your total compensation--for example, the chair of my department recently sent an e-mail to graduate student employees reminding them, correctly, of this--I am basically paying some amount of money each month so that I only have to pay $5-10/month per prescription, where what I'm arguing here is that my personal health interests would actually be better served if I had to pay $50 for a prescription, even if that meant just entering into some binding agreement where I would pay $5 for a prescription to the pharmacist and gave the other $45 to Dorotha to subsidize her stuffed-monster-making-hobby.
This leads me to wonder why I am paying for prescription drug coverage at all, or at least why I'm not just paying for some plan that protects me from the possibility of a health problem that prompts sufficiently expensive treatment that I wouldn't be able to afford pills I really needed. A problem here, though, is that if I gave up drug coverage, it would mean the extra money I paid for prescriptions would go to pharmaceutical companies, since they sell drugs to my insurer for less than they would sell drugs to me if I was uninsured. Plus I don't even know if I have the option of opting out of prescription drug coverage.
So, I guess this provides an opportunity for you, JFW reader, to make a zillion dollars and improve public health. I presume I don't have to connect the dots. Well, okay, the first dot is you have convince a bunch of people with employer-provided health coverage of the wisdom of Pharmaccam's Razor, and the last one involves people making a binding agreement to give you the difference between what they have to pay to a pharmacy to fill a prescription under their insurance plan and what would be a genuine but not constraining disincentive for filling a prescription.