In the NYT today, a nice short article by David Leonhardt makes the case that the key ingredient to look for in health reform proposals is whether or not reform means controlling costs – really controlling costs. Prostate cancer treatment is a great example, where a nearly complete lack of evidence means that we don’t know for any given patient if the better course of action is just monitoring the prostate with periodic check-ups and tests or bombarding the patient with a $100 million proton accelerator. Honest.
One more dubious treatment being performed on at least some NC patients for prostate cancer Leonhardt didn’t mention was noted by Adam Linker almost a year ago in a post making a similar point on costs and reform.
NC Senator Josh Stein has proposed a comparative effectiveness task force to do a better job of assembling this research on what works and what doesn’t using the unique health resources available here in North Carolina. We desperately need to contain exploding health costs. We can’t afford to have what we pay for health care double every ten years as is happening right now. National health reform proposals need to follow Stein’s lead and make only paying for what works in health care a top priority.