The good news is that the federal government is now making a significant investment in health services and patient-centered outcomes research to identify waste and improve the safety, effectiveness and quality of care. The bad news is that House Republicans are trying to abolish one of the main agencies carrying out this research, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and cut the funding of another, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).As to why, well, you have probably already guessed: because effectiveness research is an Obamacare-driven scheme to cut off the care of your grandmother if it doesn't meet the arbitrary standards of loveless bureaucrats in Washington:
Federal investment in this research (although it predated the 2008 election) became closely tied to the Obama administration’s health-care reform agenda, because big funding increases were tucked into the 2009 stimulus legislation and the Affordable Care Act — two measures the GOP strongly opposed. An increased federal role in comparative effectiveness research, together with payments to physicians for voluntary counseling to Medicare patients about end-of-life options and the creation of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (another agency the GOP wishes to kill) contributed to the “death panels” myth, which Republicans have used to frame health-care reform as “rationing.”Sigh. This is the sort of thing that makes scientifically-minded people think wistfully about a benevolent dictatorship.