Medicare Policies May Be Saying No Cost Is Too Great
But even tiptoeing into this discussion means navigating a political minefield where “death panels” lurk, she acknowledges. The intention of their paper, she says, is to raise a point that is too often lost.
“We hoped people would acknowledge and understand that Medicare-approving technology makes it the law, in a sense,” she says. “It is the ethical angle that has been missed.”
She and Kaufman figure that parts of the 2010 health-care reform law might nudge the system into considering the costs of treatment — and the government’s own influence on what becomes expected and demanded by patients. But they say not enough has been done.
“The key question — what cost is too much? — has not been addressed by legislation or coverage decisions,” they write. “It can only be addressed in a new approach that understands and considers the links among evidence-based therapeutics, payment criteria, and the making of standards, options and need.”