Insurer research arm pushes comparative effectiveness

Failure to pass health reform will have no impact on the move toward rationing care based on guidelines or using your genetic code to decide what is to be done with you.

The Lewin Group, the research arm of UnitedHealthcare, is pushing for greater use of comparative effectiveness in personalized healthcare,  programs tied to patients' genetic makeup.

Attacking comparative effectiveness as "getting between you and your doctor" was a big feature of the political attack on health care reform this spring and summer, where it was called "rationing."

But this was never the view of the insurance industry, which will control the health care market in the absence of regulation. Lewin maintains its own site on comparative effectiveness research, and delivered its latest report at a conference hosted by the drug industry.

In an online summit on comparative effectiveness hosted by The National Journal last spring, Lewin Group actuary John Sheils noted that guidelines produced by the research are adhered to barely half the time, suggesting that they be enforced with higher patient co-pays or government refusal to pay for care outside the guidelines.

These are precisely the actions anti-reform activists focused on in their attack on reform.

It's certainly not necessary for people on the same side of the issue to have different views. But the views that will control in this case are those of The Lewin Group. Failure to pass health reform will have no impact on the move toward rationing care based on guidelines or using your genetic code to decide what is to be done with you.

If you want to fight that, take your tea party to UnitedHealth Group. Need someone to draw you a map?

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