Don't get me wrong, it's not like I was expecting an ambassadorship or appointment as Secretary of Health and Human Services in return for my generous and unyielding support, although that would have been nice, and would have worked out better for the administration, considering I have always made it a point to keep my account with the IRS current. No my friends, all I really expected in return for getting behind my keyboard and making someone the most powerful person in the world was good government. And it looks like good government I am going to get. From the February 15th New York Times.
Yes I said February 15th. I've only made claims that I am right about all things governmental, never that I am timely:
WASHINGTON — The $787 billion economic stimulus bill approved by Congress will, for the first time, provide substantial amounts of money for the federal government to compare the effectiveness of different treatments for the same illness.
Under the legislation, researchers will receive $1.1 billion to compare drugs, medical devices, surgery and other ways of treating specific conditions.
I wrote about the problem about to be solved back in December. In a nutshell, companies are required only to prove a drug works better than a placebo to win FDA approval. Not that it works better than what is already on the market. So in most cases, there is zero scientific evidence that one med may work better or have a better cost/effectiveness ratio than another. Is Wellbutrin better than Prozac at treating your depression? Who the fuck knows? Might Buspar be a better alternative than benzodiapines for treating anxiety? Might as well have a chimp throw a dart against the wall to find out. The one time the government undertook a large scale head-to-head drug effectiveness study, focusing on hypertension meds, it found the cheap as dirt and rarely prescribed diuretic chlorthaladone to be the most effective med in preventing heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure combined.
Wow. we've only wasted a few katrillion dollars by not giving people the most effective hypertension treatment for the last few decades. Not to mention we all look really stupid. Well my friends, in case you haven't noticed, willful ignorance and stupidity no longer have an ally in the White House:
Dr. Elliott S. Fisher of Dartmouth Medical School said the federal effort would help researchers try to answer questions like these:
Is it better to treat severe neck pain with surgery or a combination of physical therapy, exercise and medications? What is the best combination of “talk therapy” and prescription drugs to treat mild depression?
How do drugs and “watchful waiting” compare with surgery as a treatment for leg pain that results from blockage of the arteries in the lower legs? Is it better to treat chronic heart failure by medications alone or by drugs and home monitoring of a patient’s blood pressure and weight?
Who would not want to know the answers to these types of questions? The stupid and willfully ignorant, that's who. Keeping that in mind, it'll be a big surprise whose name comes up in the next quote:
But critics say the legislation could put the government in the middle of the doctor-patient relationship.
Bureaucrats “will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost-effective,” Betsy McCaughey, a former lieutenant governor of New York, wrote on Bloomberg.com. Rush Limbaugh broadcast the charges to millions who listen to his radio talk show.
Um......evidently you showed up to the train station a little late Betsy. Show me a doctor, any doctor, who isn't being monitored at this very moment by some suit to make sure they are practicing medicine in accordance with the suit's employer's interest. We've all heard of prior auths, yes? They've been happening for decades now.
Well God fucking forbid that suit be representing the interests of the people of this country as opposed to a corporation mandated only to accumulate as many dollars as possible. God fucking forbid that suit be working for someone who can be held accountable for their actions. I distinctly remember having the chance to vote for Barack Obama. I clearly recall working on his behalf and against that of his opponent. I am also given my say every few years regarding other federal offices, such as Senator, or Congressperson.
In contrast, I have yet to be offered a ballot in an Aetna election. Have you? No one at Aetna gives a fuck what I think, but I saw my Congressman at the gas station the other day, and chatted him up for a few minutes. No lie. My friggin' Congressman was pumping his own gas and getting told by one of his constituents he wants a single payer health care system. Try that with an executive from Aetna if you ever see them pumping their own gas.
And while you're at it, imagine how far you'll get writing your Congressperson when Aetna gives you the shaft versus when a public system, overseen by Congress, gives you the shaft.
Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself. President Obama hasn't proposed a truly public health system yet, but he has taken a step towards things the Drugmonkey has been advocating, which makes him a pretty sweet-ass president so far. He also has yet to make up any bullshit reasons to start a war with a country that didn't attack us, which again, contrasts him favorably with his predecessor.
Maybe we could get Rush on board by proposing a study of whether Oxycontin is more effective than Percocet at keeping the bugs off his skin.
Fuck it. We don't need Rush on board. We are running the show now baby, and I don't need a study to tell me that's a vast improvement.