The Corner

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re: Comparative-Effectiveness $ in Stimulus


Sens. Ben Nelson (D., Neb.) and Susan Collins (R., Maine) are reportedly looking for items to cut from the $900-plus-zillion spendfest moving through Congress.  Here’s one: the $1.1 billion for research comparing the effectiveness of medical treatments.

Why?  For one thing, a federal comparative-effectiveness agency is doomed to fail.  Sure, conservatives fear a comparative-effectiveness agency will lead to government rationing of medical care.  After all, that’s the whole idea.  Yet the graveyards in Washington are littered with agencies that once tried to conduct comparative-effectiveness research, but were eliminated under pressure from the health care industry.  If history is any guide, a new agency will be a waste of time and money. 

I explain it all in a new Cato Institute paper titled, “A Better Way to Generate and Use Comparative-Effectiveness Research.”  (The paper is to be released tomorrow, but we snuck it online today.)