a medical miracle

As part of the stimulus bill passed last week, Congress defied the pharma and medical-device lobbies and passed a measure that would compare the effectiveness of different medical procedures - to see if more expensive treatment meant better treatment.

That this measure was controversial is shocking if not surprising. Operations, designer drugs and procedures with fancy equipment are money makers and the reapers of those profits have no interest in studies that might show that cheaper treatments are actually more effective.

Critics are concerned that if the government starts saying what makes medical sense, it'll be inserting itself into the doctor-patient relationship. Of course, the argument goes, when government gets involved it usually messes things up. What those critics don't realize is that the doctor-patient has long ago been tainted, by pharmaceutical companies that push pricey drugs and economic pressures for doctors to use expensive treatments (which get reimbursed at higher rates than prescribing an aspirin). Doctors aren't crooks. They're just like you and me; they tend to do things - most of them subconsciously - that benefit themselves financially.

So while the medical industry is issuing soft pressure to prescribe cadillac - but not necessarily effective - treatment, it comes as a welcome relief that the government could begin to tip the scales in the other direction. The government may or may not use their new studies to decide what it'll pay for (through Medicare); but the information will hopefully give most doctors pause when they see their expensive cutting edge procedures don't, in fact, edge out older and cheaper treatments.

It's amazing how special

It's amazing how special interest lobbyists can influence congress. Amazing and sickening.

cdrates (not verified) | November 4, 2009 - 8:09pm