Comparative Effectiveness Hypocrisy

checklist.jpgOver at Managed Care Matters, Joe Paduda highlights the hypocrisy of conservatives who argue that comparative effectiveness research will ration health care:

I’m completely disgusted with the hypocrisy of the libertarian right; those who have screamed for years about the ineffectiveness of government, ranting nonstop about how government can’t do anything right, yet are now screaming even louder as government attempts to make sure they are responsible stewards of the public’s funds.

This is a good way of defending effectiveness research from the onslaught of conservative attack: since over $700 billion is wasted on care that does not contribute to healthy outcomes, figuring out what works and what doesn’t and then throwing resources towards the former is, well, the function of government, conservatives have always told us. So what’s so different this time?

I would add that even the smallest kind of guidance improves health outcomes. As a recently published study in the New England Journal of Medicine concludes, simply using checklists cuts “deaths nearly in half.” So imagine the savings that can be garnered if we actually invest money to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Republicans love saving money and defunding initiatives that don’t produce desirable outcomes. With comparative effectiveness research, we can hold their feet to the fire.