Political Animal


March 15, 2013 10:54 AM How Republicans Killed Medical Cost-Effectiveness Research

By Ryan Cooper

Our editors Haley Sweetland Edwards and Phillip Longman introduce Phil’s piece in our latest issue on how conservatives snuck a phrase into Obamacare forbidding any kind of government-funded medical cost-effectiveness research:

Read the piece here.

Ryan Cooper is a National Correspondent at The Week, and a former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @ryanlcooper


  • c u n d gulag on March 15, 2013 11:18 AM:

    This is so phenominally f*cking stupid, like the government not being able to buy pharmaceuticals in bulk, that this will now be another cornerstone of what passes for Conservative philosophy.

    "Who cares what something costs, or whether it's cost-effective or not!
    It's ALL government spending, so it's all wasteful - and the sooner government is all spent-out, the sooner we can completely eliminate those damned "entitlements!!!"

  • Bo on March 15, 2013 11:41 AM:

    This is a perfect example of the preceding post about Rubio's CPAC remarks . . . "we don't need no stinkin' new ideas".
    The Gooper/Teabaggers are ostriches with their heads in the sand. They are immune to facts, science, cause-effect analysis and all else that would challenge their pre-conceived notions of how the world should work.

  • PTate in MN on March 15, 2013 12:28 PM:

    This is one of the things that disturbs me the most about Republican opposition to the ACA. You'd think finding ways to cut health care costs (by not paying for procedures that don't work) would be a no-brainer, something everyone could agree on. But protecting their cronies and obstructing Obama are clearly more important priorities to Republicans than actually governing wisely.

    And this is the first thing I'd restore, if wishes were horses.

  • Bo on March 15, 2013 12:36 PM:

    PTate, I am with you on that! When you look at how much higher Medicare reimbursement rates are in the "red states" where most of the Gooper/Teabagger opposition comes from, their position is understandable. They don't want to study anything that would kill the golden goose in their home states.

    Most of the red-state takers in healthcare haven't even heard of clinical pathways, continuous improvement or best practices. They practice "cowboy medicine" and costs be damned.

  • fostert on March 15, 2013 1:39 PM:

    Excellent article. I will note that cost effectiveness is also never applied to military spending. In other words, the two largest parts of the government are exempt from cost-benefit analysis. Can you guess where most of the waste is?

  • zandru on March 17, 2013 1:24 PM:

    It's clear why Repubs would oppose medical cost-effectiveness:

    1. It makes BIG bucks for the medical industry. They've got a ready-made, captive clientele. "Your money or your life" has always been a big winner. Plus, with the unproved stuff, you get increasingly desperate customers, who will try anything that might help them to survive. That means an even bigger "ka-ching".

    2. It provides proof that Big Gummint just throws its money away on garbage treatments that don't work. So cut back the money allocated or get rid of the whole program.

    In other words, they will defend to the death a patient's wish to treat their cancer with apricot pits, then turn around and bash the Democrats for mandating that the government pay for something that's obviously ineffective.

    The press won't point out the inconsistency, few voters will remember the sudden about-face, and Republicans get to have their cake and eat it, too. While stuffing OUR cake down the old rathole.