Two Doses of Political Micromanagement on ESAs

  • by: |
  • 10/10/2007
Want a peek at how comparative effectiveness decisions will go down in the American political system? The response to arbitrary CMS decision to ration EPO use in cancer care is a case in point. Member of congress have introduced legislation to override the decision (the Sec of HHS can't) in an effort to pressure CMS to step back. This is not the first time that Congress has mandated coverage of a specific type of care in response to an administrative decision and lobbying.

We think that the CMS decision is a power grab designed to turn CMS into NICE. So it's ironic that it is Senator Baucus -- the advocate of comparative effectiveness in the Senate -- who introduced legislation to slap down the CMS decision that itself was a product of evidence-based, cost-effectiveness analysis!. But it just goes to show you that if you think that technology assessment is objective and not political, think again.

I don't like political micromanagement even when I support the position of the micromanager. CMS should do the right thing and provide continuing coverage of ESAs while conducting a post market search for who benefits most and least from ESAs and why. That's real comparative effectiveness.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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