HHS Agrees to Pay for Unnecessary Care

How many times have we been told that ObamaCare would usher in a new age of evidence-based medicine? Well, that idea was short lived.

Should the federal government cover the costs of many kinds of treatments for patients who aren’t going to get any better?

It didn’t, for many years. But after the settlement of a landmark class-action lawsuit this week, Medicare will soon begin paying more often for physical, occupational and other therapies for large numbers of people with certain disabilities and chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

Oops. I almost forgot. Wellness checkups for seniors are an example of unnecessary care actually written into the legislation. Ah, yes…and there is all that unnecessary preventive care

Entire article on the treatment of “hopeless” patients in the NYT.

Comments (11)

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  1. James Mule says:

    Wellness checkups are a good way to prevent many medical expenses down the road.

  2. Devon Herrick says:

    When it first became known that the PPACA would provide seniors with an annual wellness checkup, it was assumed that this was a physical. Only later did it become clear that this was only a wellness visit and had no real value. A doctor can perform this checkup without even touching the patient. Doctors complain that they are not really being compensated to perform a beneficial service. All things considered, it’s just a waste of resources on something of little benefit. The chances are: patients are already getting the equivalent services during routine visits.

  3. Cindy says:

    This is a really interesting sticking point — at what point are quality-of-life therapies unnecessary or too costly? What is the minimum quality of life we want to subsidize? I’m not saying these issues have easy answers, but the evolving nature of medical intervention definitely means these need to be considered in a more in-depth sense than just “will this save a life?”

  4. Jordan says:

    James, much of the literature John linked suggests that Wellness exams do very little.

  5. Jackson says:

    Wellness exams are not sufficient at detecting most ailments. They are like changing the oil in a car, but neglecting to do any other maintenance.

  6. Kathy says:

    The key is in determining when wellness exams become unnecessary expenses. I believe they can definitely be preventive for some people, depending on the stage of their illness, but for some others it may be pass that point of “checkup” and this just simply becomes a waste of time and money for everyone.

  7. Paul says:

    I challenge anyone to show that a wellness check-up will stop/prevent/detect an infectious diesase before you actually have it.

  8. Robert says:

    Hmmm…I’m having trouble seeing a clear winner in both sides of this argument. While “turn your head and cough” might fail to detect the presence of evidence that may foreshadow a stroke, a colonoscopy will sure help detect polyps or colon cancer…Does that fall under preventitive procedures?

  9. Ashley says:

    The question of how much care to provide will continue as long as the government in a payer in the healthcare system. The proper move is to remove the question.

  10. seyyed says:

    it seems like everyone will try to argue that their treatment should receive funding from the government, creating a system that pays for nearly all treatment

  11. Ricy Mardona says:

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