Commentary writer Kevin Pho misrepresented my views on comparative-effectiveness research (CER), which is the analysis of which medical treatments work best (“Unbiased research for doctors is good medicine,” The Forum, March 26).
Pho wrote that “drug companies, medical device makers and think tanks such as the libertarian Cato Institute have expressed concerns that health care rationing and denial of certain treatments or drugs would follow” taxpayer-funded CER.
In the Cato Institute study linked to in the piece, I write that rationing is the intent behind such research, but I do not express concern that it will lead to rationing. Indeed, I express the opposite concern: that taxpayer-funded CER will not eliminate low-value services, just as it has failed to do so in the past.
Pho uses AARP executive Bill Novelli’s words to suggest that Cato, as well as drug and device makers, use “scare tactics” to oppose taxpayer-funded CER. Far from engaging in scare tactics, my paper makes precisely the same observations that Novelli does.
By contrasting Cato to CER “champion” Hillary Clinton, Pho also gives the false impression that libertarians support CER less than those who support taxpayer funding.
Yet two themes of my paper are that CER is crucial and that removing government obstacles to private production would provide a much more stable stream of research — and broader use of that research — than taxpayer funding would. I think that makes me the champion of CER, not Clinton.
At a minimum, it is misleading to suggest that libertarians oppose CER.