Healthcare Professionals for Healthcare Reform

Just another weblog

Here we go: the opening shots in the health care debates.

So Obama signed the stimulus plan today, with quite a lot of funding for health care. That should be a good thing right? Well, not if you read the papers or listen to the radio.

First the NY Times had a piece on the FRONT PAGE entitled “U.S. to Compare Medical Treatments” , that discussed one provision of the plan that makes $1.1 billion available for studies that test relative effectiveness of therapies (medications, devices and/or surgeries). The Times explains that the program responds to a growing concern that doctors have little or no solid evidence of the value of many treatments and that supporters of the research hope it will eventually save money by discouraging the use of costly, ineffective treatments (sounds a little like EMBRACE doesn’t it?). So how can that be bad?

Well it seems that “public health experts” such as Betsy McCaughey (a former lieutenant governor of New York) and Rush Limbaugh are quoted as saying that bureaucrats “will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost-effective.”

As Congress translated the idea into legislation, it became a lightning rod for pharmaceutical and medical-device lobbyists, who fear the findings will be used by insurers or the government to deny coverage for more expensive treatments and, thus, to ration care.

In addition, Republican lawmakers and conservative commentators complained that the legislation would allow the federal government to intrude in a person’s health care by enforcing clinical guidelines and treatment protocols.

These points are clearly aimed to stoke fear in the general public for instruments that are not only useful, but are essential in developing any meaningful and effective reform.

In truth I think that this is more than just criticism of this particular provision, I believe this is a practice round for when the administration rolls out their health care reform proposal.

This is just a prelude of what’s to come! The pharmaceutical and insurance industries are getting ready to fight any plan tooth and nail.  

So, here we go…



February 18, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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