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Law may do little to help curb unnecessary care

New York Times, March 30, 2010

To truly change the nation's chronic overuse of medical care, there will have to be a substantial change in the way patients think about healthcare, how medicine is practiced, and how it is paid for, economists and doctors say. The newly-passed health reform legislation includes money for comparative effectiveness studies, and those can give guidance on which tests and treatments are better than others. But the law in no way forces patients or doctors to choose one test or treatment over another or to aim for the cheapest alternative. And it does nothing to change the reimbursement system, in which doctors often make more money if they order more tests, for instance, the New York Times reports.