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Akron Univ. School of Law

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Howard Dean Speaks on Comparative Effectiveness Research

The Huffingtonpost runs a brief editorial by Howard Dean (whose name has been mentioned as a potential HHS Secretary) concerning comparative effectiveness research and its opponents.  He writes,

Opponents of fixing our broken health care system are at it again, attempting to use their same old scare tactics and falsehoods to kill a common-sense health care provision is the economic recovery package. . . . Under attack is a provision that is in the package that will help your doctor be better informed and more effective at the job they signed up to do in the first place - taking care of you and your family.   

Comparative Effectiveness Research:   At issue is something called "Comparative Effectiveness Research" which basically means giving your doctor access to the latest research on what treatments and therapies work and which don't. This also helps doctors know which treatments are more expensive than others, and helps both patients and doctors decide if there is a cheaper treatment that is just as effective. As a doctor and the husband of a doctor, I know how important it is to have solid scientific research to make critical decisions for my patients.  This research will help doctors choose the best treatment for their patients' situation and help them make more informed choices rather than risk prescribing less effective or even potentially harmful treatments.

Essentially, in order to control costs and provide patients with better care as we reform health care, the Federal Government will fund and disseminate research that evaluates the effectiveness of different treatments and medicines. This research will give doctors and patients better choices, and most importantly better health care for their money. . . .

Medicine is and should always be science based - not driven by ideology.

Mr. Limbaugh and his cohorts would have you believe that this research will be used to deny needed care to your great Aunt May and be run by the politburo. But the Bill passed by Congress states right up front that the Government can not make coverage decisions based on this research . . . .

This claptrap is really about the far right laying the ground work for a far greater and more sustained attack on the Democrats' attempt to fix our health care system. As we move forward with the American people to finally fulfill the promise of Harry Truman, who over sixty years ago suggested that every American ought to have a reasonable health care plan, we will rely on the voters to remind the right wing that change is what we promised, and change is what we will deliver. . . .

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