Igor Volsky – Top Republican Comes Out In Support Of Death Panels
From the Wonk Room:
By Igor Volsky
The Wall Street Journal’s Alicia Mundy has this report pointing out that now that the elections are over, Republicans are clamoring to cut out unnecessary medical spending in Medicare — something they had previously referred to as “rationing” and likened to “death panels.” Darrell Issa (R-CA), the incoming chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is a big fan:
“If I can help every senior get the same care they’re getting and still save tens of billions of dollars and have no doctors cheated out of what they’re entitled to, what’s not to like?” he said. […]
Mr. Issa said his own doctor told him that surgeons have an incentive under Medicare to implant many joint and bone screws to support patients’ spines, when fewer implants—or none at all—might be equally effective and safer.
“They have got to come up with a system that doesn’t reward people for putting more metal in somebody’s spine,” Mr. Issa said.
Under current rules, Medicare cannot consider cost-effectiveness in its coverage decisions. But Mr. Issa said it may be time to consider costs as well as efficacy, as long as medical decisions are made by doctors, not by “bureaucrats” in government. “My committee can help by looking at whether the government is answering and informing about the lowest-cost, least-invasive procedures,” he said. […] “Republicans have to step back from the words ‘death panels,’ ” Mr. Issa said.