John O'Shea doesn't play a doctor on TV. He is one - a
Harvard educated surgeon with first-hand experience in dealing with
to the Senate about proposals to have the Medicare bureaucracy
"negotiate" drug prices is must-reading for those who care about
the quality of health care provided through the Great Society
program. If you think everything will be just fine once the
government starts "negotiating," O'Shea writes, just take a look at
how well Medicare has "negotiated" the cost of various medical
procedures for doctors - and what it means for patient
"When Medicare was enacted in 1965, Congress statutorily
prohibited government from interference in the practice of
medicine," O'Shea notes. But that prohibition has been "largely
ignored." Today Medicare imposes a complex and cumbersome pricing
system covering more than 7,000 physician services. The result:
coverage does not always extend to new, more effective treatments;
patient access to doctors is compromised, and still costs
Medicare coverage of prescription drugs will deteriorate in
similar fashion, O'Shea warns, if Congress insists on making
bureaucrats determine which drugs the program will cover, at what
prices. Look for higher prices, less quality and more bureaucracy.
"As senators weigh the merits of such an approach, they should keep
in mind that the Medicare physician payment system...is a mess,"
O'Shea writes. "It should serve as a warning."
To read more about the dangers of letting government "negotiate"
Medicare drug prices, click
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