A panel decides Washington State's healthcare costs
Washington State's Health Technology Assessment committee has authority under state law to determine which medical devices and procedures Washington will cover for state employees, Medicaid patients and injured workers, about 750,000 people in all. While all states, private insurers and the federal Medicare program decide what to cover, this state's program is attracting nationwide attention, in part because its process is public and open. That provides a living laboratory of the complexities of applying evidence-based medicine, something that is becoming more common as a way to rein in healthcare costs. The program is also drawing attention because it explicitly considers the cost of treatments in making its decisions, akin to Britain's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. That similarity alone has made the Washington program the target of criticism from opponents of the new federal healthcare legislation.
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