Virtual colonoscopy at center of policy debate
The Colon Health Center of Delaware has been selling an alternative to one of medicine's most unloved procedures: the colonoscopy. Rather than insert several feet of tubing into patients' lower intestines, clinicians slide patients into a computed tomography imaging machine that can quickly scan the abdomen for signs of cancer. Today, however, this procedure is the subject of a heated debate in Washington pitting powerful sectors of the healthcare industry against a government desperate to contain healthcare spending. The fight over virtual colonoscopy has also become a prime example of how hard it can be to ensure that healthcare dollars are spent efficiently, a key goal of the Obama administration.
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