Friday, February 6, 2009

The Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research

Buried in the current stimulus bill is a provision that will alter forever the delivery of health care in the United States,

As reported in The Washington Times 2/5/2009 article by Amy Menefee the stimulus bill would create a government council which would determine the effectiveness of various treatments. You will want to read the link to the story above. When the stimulus bill passes, perhaps this weekend, in the dead of night no doubt, if this is part of the final version, Americans will be outraged. Not only are employers who have invested in wellness and engaging their workforce being saddled with an additional $39-$65B in costs from the COBRA changes they also face more regulation from The Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research. Welcome to rationing America.

The "stimulus" establishes a new government body to assess Americans' health care and to make sure drugs and treatments "that are found to be less effective and in some cases, more expensive, will no longer be prescribed." That's how House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) described it...

The predecessor of this new bureaucracy operates in the United Kingdom. The British National Health Service (NHS), revered by fans of government health care, has a body that compares and assesses drugs and treatments. It's called the National Institute for Health and Clinical Effectiveness (not-too-aptly nicknamed NICE). It became infamous for denying cancer patients new drugs that had proven to be effective. They were deemed medically effective - but not cost-effective.Patients can opt to buy these drugs out of their own pockets, while still paying the taxes that fund the NHS, of course.

One man has wanted a similar board to govern the treatment of U.S. patients: Tom Daschle, who just ended his quest to be the new Secretary of Health and Human Services after being investigated for tax evasion. He laid out his entire vision in a book, "Critical: What We Can Do about the Health Care Crisis."The focus is a federal health board modeled on the Federal Reserve. This board would oversee the entire health sector, including research on drugs and treatments known as comparative effectiveness research. And, like the British version, it would concern itself not only with helping patients, but with the costs of treatment.

"We won't be able to make a significant dent in health-care spending without getting into the nitty-gritty of which treatments are the most clinically valuable and cost effective," Daschle wrote.

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