Viewpoints: Screening For Prostate Cancer, Stem Cell Research And Free Coverage For Iowa Lawmakers
USA Today: Column: Why I'll Continue To Screen For Prostate Cancer
As a practicing internist, I need all the help I can get in diagnosing the many diseases that threaten the life and well-being of my patients. So perhaps you'll understand why I'm angered by the reckless new recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (a panel of primary care experts) that I don't use the prostate-specific antigen to screen men older than 40 for prostate cancer (Marc Siegel, 10/11).
Bloomberg: View: Fresh Controversy In Stem Cell Research
Last week, with the announcement that scientists had created stem cells, not from embryos, but from adult cells, one controversy in biomedicine was replaced by another. No sooner had the problem of using human embryos been solved than a problem with selling human eggs sprang up. … Many donors will be motivated by a combination of mercenary and charitable impulses — which society ought to encourage. You shouldn't have to be an absolute saint in order to do a bit of good (10/11).
Roll Call: Root And Seidenberg: Fixing Cracks In The Medical Innovation Pipeline
A new study published today by the National Venture Capital Association's Medical Innovation and Competitiveness Coalition found that venture capital firms have been decreasing their investment in biopharmaceutical and medical device companies in the United States over the past three years and expect to curtail further such investment over the next three years, primarily because of challenges related to the Food and Drug Administration. ... Without venture investment, these discoveries have limited avenues to market and will wither on the vine (Drs. Jonathan Root and Beth Seidenberg, 10/12).
Kansas City Star: Rigid Rules Of Medicare Stifle Innovation
Most people who look at our health care system agree that the fee-for-service model in Medicare is a major cause of chronically rising health care costs. Doctors who do more procedures get more money. And since the Treasury is paying most of the bill, there's little falloff on the demand side as costs increase; the customers just keep coming. … In 2014, the IPAB will start enforcing Medicare spending limits, primarily by cutting reimbursement rates for doctors and hospitals. No one should be surprised if this leads to a shortage of providers willing to take Medicare patients. People who cry, "Keep your hands off my Medicare," may well succeed in blocking real reform. But that will only increase the risk that when their time comes to access the program, they can't get access to a doctor (E. Thomas McClanahan, 10/12).
Des Moines Register: Free Health Coverage For Lawmakers Is Even Sweeter Than Other Iowans'
On Sunday, the Register's Opinion pages reported that 83 of the 150 members of the Iowa Legislature are receiving free health insurance. Fifty others do pay a monthly premium toward coverage, but they are in plans that cost taxpayers even more. Add in dental, life, and long-term disability insurance, and the cost to the public for these fringe benefits can be $18,000 per lawmaker, per year. A reader raised an issue that deserves a response. She said the newspaper didn't provide such details about the lawmakers' plans as copayments and deductibles (10/11).
The Journal of the American Medical Association: A Model for Dissemination and Independent Analysis of Industry Data
Each day, patients and their physicians make treatment decisions with access to only a fraction of the relevant clinical research data. Many clinical studies, including randomized clinical trials, are never published in the biomedical literature. Among those that are published, key information is often not presented, such as data on specific outcomes and safety end points. ... Current clinical research standards lack sufficiently strong requirements for transparency and availability (Dr. Harlan M. Krumholz and Dr. Joseph S. Ross, 10/12).
Huffington Post: Next Occupy-Wall Street-Run Health Insurance Companies
America's families and small businesses are barely hanging on while the Wall Street-run health insurance profit machines have been jacking up rates and providing less care. That's why it makes sense for Occupy Wall Street protesters to occupy them as well. In an excellent post on Monday, former health insurance industry insider Wendell Potter suggested that protesters target the Washington, D.C., offices of the insurance industry's lobbying arm. He's right. ... The health insurance companies' relentless pursuit of profit and callous disregard for people offers another window into how big corporations have abused people and twisted the economy to serve their own interests (Ethan Rome, 10/11).