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Commentary: Does oversight threaten the doctor-patient bond?

New York Times, February 27, 2009
A recent debate in healthcare reform has centered on the $1.1 billion set aside in the economic stimulus bill to compare the effectiveness of different treatments for the same illness. Supporters believe that such "comparative effectiveness" research will help to identify ineffective therapy, improve quality of care and ultimately decrease the time, effort, and money spent on treatments that don't work well. But critics say that such research could ultimately lead to a one-treatment-fits-all approach and that it would allow the government to dictate "appropriate" decisions in the doctor-patient relationship.