Here we go. Again.
This article in today’s New York Times just makes my blood boil.
Essentially, the insurance companies, most notably United Healthcare and Aetna, are experimenting with new payment systems for cancer treatment by specialists. They want these physicians to use standardized treatment methods rather than the more expensive, individualized, and often experimental protocols that are specifically designed to work in certain types of cancer cases.
They’re actually paying several groups of physicians to do this as a trial run. In other words, they are basically “incentivizing” (don’t you love that word?) doctors to use cheaper treatments, not the optimal treatment for each patient.
So much for individualized medicine.
Some regional insurers, like Wellpoint, are trying to arrange similar deals in several states.
Opponents of this approach (myself included) worry that this might be the first step to denying patients certain treatments for cancer based on cost alone. Profits over people. Again.