Monday, May 23, 2016

Death (Panel) Comes a'Calling

We first wrote about the IPAB (Independent Payment Advisory Board) almost exactly 6 years ago:

"A stealth, 15 member panel appointed by the king, I mean president, to make sure Medicare doesn't spend too much money on health care."

At the time, the idea that the IPAB was in reality a Death Panel was mocked and derided as hopelessly over the top. But was it?

Turns out, not so much:

"ICER [Institute for Clinical and Economic Review] portrays itself as being independent when it is nothing of the sort, as it was founded and is being run by people with strong ties to the insurance industry ... ICER is set to review new therapies for small cell lung cancer."

So what, you ask?


"It recently reviewed a drug for another type of cancer, Multiple Myeloma, and, not surprisingly, it found the drug too expensive."

When insurance companies (and Medicare) pay the piper, they call the tune, and if the price is deemed too high, then the music stops. Britain's Not So Vaunted National Health System© bases care on quality-adjusted life years (QALY), and "seldom endorses treatments costing more than [$43,000] per additional year gained." No matter how one spins this, it is rationing.

Now, there's a case to be made that this is for the public good: after all, we all most of us pay premiums and taxes, and therefore have a horse in the race. But what's insidious about this method is that, unlike the one used by the NSVNHS©, ICER is not transparent. And so one is left wondering when one's spigot will ultimately be turned off.

Second look at a cancer policy?

[Hat Tip: FoIB Holly R]
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