KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Experts: Americans Get Too Many Tests, Too Much Treatment

The Associated Press: "Too much cancer screening, too many heart tests, too many cesarean sections. A spate of recent reports suggest that too many Americans -- maybe even President Barack Obama -- are being overtreated." Defensive medicine and a culture focusing on medical technology have lead to overtesting but "now new evidence and guidelines are recommending a step back and more thorough doctor-patient conversations about risks and benefits."

This week's New England Journal of Medicine included a study suggesting "that too many patients are getting angiograms -- invasive imaging tests for heart disease -- who don't really need them who don't really need them; and specialists convened by the National Institutes of Health said doctors are too often demanding repeat cesarean deliveries for pregnant women after a first C-section." But some doctors and advocacy groups argue that screening "can improve survival chances and that saving even a few lives is worth the cost of routinely testing tens of thousands of people" (Tanner, 3/12). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.