In the Los Angeles Times, Noam N. Levey reviews the controversy that broke out when President Obama included money in the stimulus plan to study what medical treatments are most “cost effective.”
As Levey writes, “Many healthcare authorities and policymakers have agreed for years that a better system for tracking how well drugs, medical devices and surgical procedures work could improve the care Americans receive and ultimately save billions of dollars.”
The fight over what Levey calls “a relatively obscure proposal” foreshadows arguments that health care reform advocates can expect to face as Obama moves forward with plans to overhaul the health care system.
“The comparative-effectiveness issue was supposed to help lay the groundwork for the broader reform effort. But it became a lightning rod for conservative commentators who labeled it a step toward socialized medicine, a line of attack that has doomed every health overhaul effort since World War II.”