Friday, April 6, 2012

Health Care - #3789- Doctors Call for End to Five Cancer Tests, Treatments - Fox (2) Doctor Panels Recommend Fewer Tests for Patients - NY Times (3) Two New Polls Show Majority Want Supreme Court to Overturn Obamacare - Hot Air

In a move that threatens to further inflame concerns about the rationing of medical care, the nation's leading association of cancer physicians issued a list on Wednesday of five common tests and treatments that doctors should stop offering to cancer patients. The list emerged from a two-year effort, similar to a project other medical specialties are undertaking, to identify procedures that do not help patients live longer or better or that may even be harmful, yet are routinely prescribed. As much as 30 percent of health-care spending goes to procedures, tests, and hospital stays that do not improve a patient's health, according to a 2008 analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget office......Although the task force emphasized that its recommendations -- winnowed from about 10 suggestions by oncologists -- were driven by medical considerations, the report makes clear that expense was a major factor. A number of cancer drugs cost nearly $100,000 but extend life a few months or not at all. Widely-used imaging tests cost up to $5,000 yet do not benefit patients.  The list has been closely guarded, with public announcements scheduled for Wednesday. Patients, advocacy groups, and policy experts contacted by Reuters were mixed in their reaction to the recommendations.  Read more.........

Doctor Panels Recommend Fewer Tests for Patients - NY Times - In a move likely to alter treatment standards in hospitals and doctors’ offices nationwide, a group of nine medical specialty boards plans to recommend on Wednesday that doctors perform 45 common tests and procedures less often, and to urge patients to question these services if they are offered. Eight other specialty boards are preparing to follow suit with additional lists of procedures their members should perform far less often. The recommendations represent an unusually frank acknowledgment by physicians that many profitable tests and procedures are performed unnecessarily and may harm patients. By some estimates, unnecessary treatment constitutes one-third of medical spending in the United States.  “Overuse is one of the most serious crises in American medicine,” said Dr. Lawrence Smith, physician-in-chief at North Shore-LIJ Health System and dean of the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, who was not involved in the initiative. “Many people have thought that the organizations most resistant to this idea would be the specialty organizations, so this is a very powerful message.”  Read more........

Two New Polls Show Majority Want Supreme Court to Overturn Obamacare - Hot Air - As the issue of ObamaCare goes to the Supreme Court this week, two new polls show what most other pollsters have found for the last two years — the majority of Americans want ObamaCare overturned. We’ll start with the new Reason-Rupe poll, which surveyed 1200 general-population adults to find that 62% believe that the individual mandate is unconstitutional:  As the Supreme Court hears challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act this week, a new Reason-Rupe poll of 1,200 adults finds 62 percent of Americans believe it is unconstitutional for Congress to mandate the purchase of health insurance, while 30 percent think requiring health insurance is constitutional.  Legal experts have suggested that if Congress has the power to require individuals to buy health care insurance, it may also mandate that Americans buy broccoli. The Reason-Rupe poll finds 87 percent of Americans believe Congress does not have the power to require the purchase of broccoli, while 8 percent say Congress can force you to buy vegetables.  Read more........

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