One doctor’s unnecessary procedure is another physician’s mortgage payment

“I make my living off unnecessary procedures.”

So will be the rallying cry of some doctors once the true impact of comparative effectiveness research (CER) is felt.

Proponents of CER have been very careful not to associate its evidence-based findings with the coverage decisions of Medicare and other health insurers.

But let’s face it, that eventually has to happen. I see CER as the initial baby step to start the discussion on withholding treatment, since, after all, it’s the only real way to control health care costs.

Bob Wachter writes an excellent article on the history of comparative effectiveness in the United States, and how staunch the resistance was, and will be.

I’ll leave you with this money quote, accurately summarizing up the entire battle: “But let’s not be naïve about it ““ one person’s ‘cost-ineffective’ procedure may be a provider’s mortgage payment, a manufacturer’s stock-levitator, and a patient’s last hope for survival.”

The whole piece is well worth reading.