Stimulus Devotes $1B to Weighing Medical Treatments

Comparing effectiveness will 'save money and lives'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 16, 2009 9:00 AM CST
Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., says the measure will 'eventually save money and lives.'   (AP Photo/Terry Ashe)
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(Newser) – The stimulus bill sinks $1.1 billion into the first major government comparison of different medical treatments, the New York Times reports. The provision is a reaction to concerns that treatments are being prescribed without solid evidence to back their usefulness and cost-effectiveness. But some say such studies would mean undue government interference in treatment options.

“We have little information about which treatments work best for which patients,” says California Rep. Pete Stark. “The new research will eventually save money and lives.” But drug companies and lobbyists fear the government could use the studies to bar patients from getting more expensive care. “Bureaucrats will misuse this research to ration care, to deny life-saving treatments to seniors and disabled people,” says a GOP congressman and heart surgeon.