Make no mistake about it – this bill mandates over a billion dollars to lay the initial building blocks in the foundation of a national health-care superstructure that will ration medical care to the sick and the elderly, with government bureaucrats (not doctors) making the medical decisions.
There are two lies being told here, and I've seen them spoken or implied in every political argument concerning comparative effectiveness research:
The first is pure misdirection. The Administration is not proposing doing away with private health insurance. Making the claim is like the magician waving one hand while pulling out the bunny with the other.
It is possible companies could drop plans and move employees toward buying from a national plan, perhaps with a subsidy. But subsidizing the purchase of health insurance was a Republican idea during the last campaign.
The second claim, that we're not now rationing, is a flat-out lie, as anyone who has ever tried to appeal an insurer's refusal to cover a procedure knows.
It's true these refusals are not always based on good science. Some who fight hard can overturn the decisions. But that is not an argument against getting the data. It's an argument for it.
Why does it cost $3,000 more per year to care for a Medicare patient in Panama City, Florida than in Albany, Georgia, just an hour away? Why are costs in Wausau, Wisconsin $2,000 per patient higher per year than in the areas around it?
It will take a lot of data to answer those questions. Collecting the data, doing the analysis, is what comparative effectiveness is all about. It's what the insurance industry has been trying to do for years.
Give the doctors honest data, give them a process to argue successfully against the data in specific cases, add some transparency, and it doesn't matter who pays, care gets better and costs go down.