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Healthcare Reform Bill

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The Health Care reform bill has the creation of an Institute for Comparative Effectiveness as a key component with the hope of improving quality and reducing health care costs. The institute would have the authority to make official determinations of the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of medical treatments, procedures, drugs, and medical devices.

President Obama's initial nominee as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), former Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD), has likewise proposed the creation of a supremely powerful Federal Health Board, which would have similar authority to make decisions that would be binding on health plans and providers financed by federal taxpayers, and potentially on private health insurance coverage.[2] While Senator Daschle has withdrawn his name from Senate consideration, the concept of such a board or institute is strongly indicative of the Obama Administration's policy orientation toward centralized health policy decision-making.

Last year, congress has passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1, which would establish a Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research. The bill provides $1.1 billion for the new council and delegate spending authority to the HHS Secretary to investigate the effectiveness of different drugs and medical devices.[3]

Of course, there is no reason why anyone should not have access to information on what works and what doesn't. There is no reason why such scientific evaluations should not be widely available to doctors and patients. But studies of the comparative effectiveness of medical devices, drugs, and technology should be conducted primarily within the private sector, and there should be no government monopoly over either the research or the distribution of information. With key issue is the personal freedom of patients to be able…...

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