The Corner

A Cure Worse Than the Disease

My colleague Greg Conko has a new short paper out on so-called health-care reform today. It specifically addresses the argument that the Baucus bill will save money all told. As Greg says:

Generally, we should encourage efforts to eliminate waste and reduce the use of ineffective treatments, especially when we’re talking about public programs and taxpayer money.  But the only way these programs would result in significant savings is if legislation or subsequent implementation tries to force the square peg of comparative effectiveness research results into the round hole of clinical practice by requiring physicians to always pick the treatment deemed best for the average patient.

That’s not just bad for patients in the near term, it would also wreak havoc on long term medical innovation.  If every new medicine were required, immediately upon gaining regulatory approval, to be effective and cheap enough to get the support of bureaucratic bean counters, research on the next generation of treatments for cancer, heart disease, and countless other serious conditions would slow to a snail’s pace.

More on this from Greg at Openmarket.