Item 1: This past summer, Medicare announces it will consider covering obesity treatments including gastric bypass.
Item 2: In September, Medicare announces it will pay for some PET scans for people suspected of having Alzheimer's disease.
Item 3: Yesterday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Medicare might start paying for impotence drugs.
The Inquirer quoted an economist: "If you have a certian amount of money that you want to spend on health care for the elderly, how much of a priority is covering these types of pharmaceuticals as opposed to other therapeutic interventions?"
Today's Washington Post gives details of the politics behind the PET scan decision. It says, "The PET industry did not conduct new studies or gather fresh evidence of its usefulness after being turned down for Alzheimer's coverage in 2003. Instead, PET proponents took a political path." Read the Post story to follow the money of how the pork was cooked in this move.
Again the question should be asked: Who's minding the budget at Medicare, which is projected to have a record-breaking 17% premium increase next year?