Sean King

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Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Sunday, April 4, 2010

MSNBC determines whether 7 common fears about health care reform are...

...true or false.

This is very helpful, though I find their "true/false" designations to be misleading in some cases. For example, they claim that comparative effectiveness research will NOT lead to the rationing of care for the elderly, contrary to some claims. But then they go on to admit that:

The law creates a nonprofit Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute charged with examining the "relative health outcomes, clinical effectiveness, and appropriateness" of different medical treatments by evaluating existing studies and conducting its own. The institute would be governed by a 19-member board that includes patients, doctors, hospitals, drug makers, device manufacturers, insurers, payers, government officials and health experts.

The law states that the institute does not have the power to mandate or even endorse coverage rules or reimbursement for any particular treatment. Medicare may take the institute’s research into account when deciding what procedures it will cover, so long as the new research is not the sole justification and the agency allows for public input.

This is a shift from Congress’ position when it created the Medicare Part D drug benefit in 2003; back then it banned any use of comparative effectiveness research in determining what would be covered.

Uh...I think that means that fear of rationing care based on some panel's determination of effectiveness is TRUE, not false.

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