Political Threat To Research On How Care Can Better Serve Patients


What the — ?!? Are you kidding me?!?!?

Sorry, I’m not as understated as our genteel colleagues at The Incidental Economist, a superb blog on health care policy. Those expostulations comprised my shocked reaction to a warning today from Dr. Aaron Carroll of the Indiana University School of Medicine, a regular Incidental Economist blogger.

He writes in the JAMA Forum here that a spending bill now wending its way through the U.S. House of Representatives would cut — and I mean cut as in totally eliminate — the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and ban government funding of any “patient-centered outcomes research.”

In his measured way, Dr. Carroll writes:

We spent about $2.6 trillion on health care in 2010. For all that, we have a system that isn’t close to universal and that by many measures is often shockingly low in quality. It would seem that it might be in the best interest of the health care system in general to reduce spending and improve quality. More than any other NIH agency, AHRQ is specifically dedicated to these goals.

Um, yes, we might like to know how to spend our $2-1/2 trillion in ways that help patients more, and don’t you generally have to pay researchers to find that out? Dr. Carroll writes: Continue reading