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AARP Responds to Health Reform Scare Tactics
Date:8/3/2009

Commentary by Betsy McCaughey 'rife with gross, cruel distortions'

NEW YORK, Aug. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AARP New York State Director Lois Aronstein issued the following statement in response to recent commentary by Betsy McCaughey in various media outlets on health care reform measures passed or currently being considered by Congress.

"Betsy McCaughey's recent commentary on health care reform column in various media outlets is rife with gross -- and even cruel -- distortions.

"Ms. McCaughey has again launched her customary broadside attack against comparative effectiveness research. She describes this term as 'code' for 'limiting care based on a patient's age.' In fact the term for that is 'age rating,' a practice used by insurance companies to discriminate against older Americans against which AARP is vigorously fighting, and we look forward to her next column to help the cause.

"'Comparative effectiveness research,' on the other hand, is a technical term that just means giving doctors and patients the ability to compare different kinds of treatments to find out which one works best for which patient.

"Some estimates say that only about half of all therapies that patients receive have been backed up by head-to-head comparisons with alternatives. While our country spends more than $2 trillion a year on health care, we spend less than 0.1 percent on evaluating how that care works compared to other options.

"This research has been around (although sadly not enough) for decades, enjoying support from political leaders of both parties, doctors, patients, and consumer advocacy groups.

"The main opponents of this research are those groups with a vested interest in a health care system that wastes billions of dollars each year on ineffective or unnecessary drugs, treatments or tests. Given Ms. Mc
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SOURCE AARP New York
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