Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Medicare Nixes Virtual Colonoscopy

Medicare officials have decided not to pay for "virtual" colonoscopies, concluding that "the evidence is not sufficient to conclude that screening CT colonography improves health benefits for asymptomatic, average risk Medicare beneficiaries."

Gary Schwitzer calls the decision "a bold move," given the intense industry pressure to approve such payments. In response, he says, the industry is already ratcheting up the rhetoric about socialized medicine and rationing of care.

"I wish news stories and press releases would skip the rhetoric and explain the evidence," Schwitzer says. "Otherwise the rationing rhetoric is bound to continue - without advancing true public understanding of the issues at play. It's another early bellwether of what any true comparative effectiveness research effort will be up against."


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