Goose and Gander Redux

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Part of Obama’s stimulus package is to fund $1.1 billion for comparative effectiveness research on medical treatments, to determine “best practices” in health care.

This is a very useful concept. Who wouldn’t want to get the best care possible for the money spent? This will be touted as one of the benefits of further government control over medicine.

The only problem is that this is what private health insurers have been doing for decades, only they haven’t exactly received accolades for their efforts. They have the statistics from millions of cases to show what is most effective, and cost-effective as well, and use them every day in deciding what care to insure.

When the insurance companies do this, we hear complaints that they are depriving people of care because”clerks” decide to disallow certain practices for reimbursement on the basis that they are not best practices. And then those complaints are used to demand government control of health insurance and care.

So Obama could get his comparative-effectiveness research much more cheaply by just asking the insurers, and save that billion. The questions I have are these: Why is this such a bad thing when private insurers do it, but good when the government does it? When the government, instead of private insurers, starts “rationing” health care, will the socialists still be so happy about government control of health care?

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