Tuesday, May 5, 2009

McCaughey: Controlling Doctors' Decisions

Former New York lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey gives us an update on comparative effectiveness mandates and how the will compromise your doctor's ability to practice good medicine.

Here are a few excerpts:
Controlling Doctors' Decisions

...Legislators slipped the framework for top-down government controls into the stimulus package passed in February. One provision called for computer technology that will "guide" doctors' decisions about what care is "cost-effective." Beginning in 2014, Medicare and other federal programs will impose financial penalties on doctors and hospitals who are not "meaningful users" of this system. Private insurers historically have followed Medicare's lead.

...Government controls on health expenditures will reduce the availability of medical technology, such as MRIs, and cause waits for treatment. [Harvard Medical School professor David] Blumenthal says it's "debatable" whether the timely care Americans currently receive is worth the added price.

Ask a cancer patient about waiting, and you'll get a different answer. Delays lower your chance of survival. For example, women in the U.S are more likely to have regular mammograms than are women elsewhere, according to data from the Commonwealth Fund. Their breast cancer is detected sooner. They are also treated faster and have higher survival rates than women in any other developed country, according to the CONCORD study published in 2008 in Lancet Oncology. These statistics include all American women, not just those with insurance.
Read the whole thing.

Advocates of government-run "universal health care" typically criticize insurance companies for denying care in order to save money.

The harm that private insurers can do will pale in comparison to what the government can do when it becomes the the sole monopoly insurer.

Let's hope we don't have to find out.