Tuesday, March 17, 2009

'Comparison Shopping for Medicine'

Subtitle: "Obama's Stimulus Package Funds Research on Cutting Costs"
By Ceci Connolly, The Washington Post, March 17, 2009.
President Obama has dedicated $1.1 billion in the economic stimulus package for federal agencies to oversee studies on the merits of competing medical treatments.

The approach, known as comparative effectiveness research, is aimed at finding the best treatments at the best prices. Proponents say reducing ineffective or unproven care is one way to rein in health costs, which consume nearly 18 percent of the gross domestic product, straining family budgets, company profits and the federal government.

Skeptics, however, say Obama's decision to invest heavily in such research will lead to European-style rationing in which patients are denied lifesaving therapies to save money.
Comment: The Europeans have better health status indicators and lower medical costs than we do in America. You certainly would not want to go to their system. Of course, their system allocates their health resources more on the basis on need less on ability to pay. In terms of the thrust of this blog, I don't know which would be worse:
  • limiting the development of the efficacy and efficiency of alternative remedies, or
  • failing to use such information as it becomes available.
The Obama administration is seeking to use the stimulus funds in ways that not only create current jobs, but help to improve both health services and the economy in the future. Sounds good to me. JAD

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