Major medical organizations are urging health committees in the House and Senate to make comparative-effectiveness research a key component of healthcare reform.
Comparative effectiveness was a subject of contention during negotiations on healthcare reform legislation this week in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The bills plans for a new federal center on health outcomes research was seen by some GOP members as a possible means to ration healthcare.
A letter, co-signed by the American Medical Association and more than 60 other groups, countered that comparative-effectiveness research would not lead to cookbook medicine or rationing of expensive forms of care. Its purpose is to help physicians and patients make smart choices based on the clinical value of varying treatments and interventions, the unique needs and preferences of individual patients, and our societal commitment to reduce disparities in care, the letter stated.
While its true that comparative effectiveness may identify low-cost treatments that yield better outcomes than high-cost alternatives, the reverse is also true, the letter stated. Most important to patients is that the information be from an independent, authoritative and trusted source.