Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Ineffectiveness of Health Care Cost-Effectiveness

Today's Wall Street Journal has a good article on health care and the implementation (or lack of) with regard to cost-effectiveness research. The article looks at research that shows that for many heart patients, stents provide no additional benefits to treating with generic drugs as I wrote about a few days ago.

Yet, the use of stent's has not diminished. Why - well it seems that physicians are paid more for inserting a stent than writing prescriptions for generic drugs, and thus even if the evidence says that for certain types of patients a stent will not provide additional benefits, since the physician will benefit - in they go to the patients, and up goes health care costs.

The article indicates that oversight (regulation) may be needed to solve this problem; but regulation also may raise other costs of providing health care - some government agency must do the overseeing, and that costs money. The other solution is for Medicare not re-imburse physicians for stent proceedures that are not statistically necessary, which should lower costs.

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