Remember the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) study? Remember NIHCM, the “nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving the effectiveness, efficiency, and quality of America’s health care system that just happened to be brainchild of one CEO of one major HMO who wanted to launch an attack on drug costs to get the press off his back onto the Rx industry? But never mind that. The study, written by one Mick Hunt said that the increase in drug spending between 1995 and 2000 was largely due to spending on medications that the FDA did not categorize as providing significantly improved efficacy or safety even as it ignored the number of new medicines receiving priority review increased and ignored vaccines and biologics. It also ignored research by Lichtenberg (which it was forced to include in a second version of a report) demonstrating that the consumption of the medicines the study derided actually reduced treatment costs and increased life expectancy.
Part of the goal of the study was to demonstrate how out of control drug costs were and are in terms of explaining huge increases in HMO premiums (at least at the Blues) A recent study by Americ’s Health Insurance Plans finds that non-drug medical costs accounted for 70 percent of average health premium increase in 2005.
Increased spending on physician services was the largest single contributor to the 8.8 percent average health premium increase in 2005. Outpatient hospital services such as diagnostic testing accounted for 22 percent of the increase followed by inpatient hospital services which accounted for 18 percent. Prescription drugs? The subject of the NICHM study and a Peter Jennings report based on the report and a slew of mainstrem media attacks? 16 percent? Other medical services were at 6 percent.
Why didn’t the media write stories about this fact? Why didn’t Ms. MickHunt include that in her dissembling and slanderous piece of propaganda? As Mark Twain noted, a lie can travel halfway round the world before the truth even gets its boots on….