The Colon Cancer Alliance has distributed a statement of disappointment over Medicare’s decision not to pay for virtual colonoscopy.
Let's do a reality check on what they say in that statement.
"This decision now leaves millions of older Americans exposed to a higher risk of colon cancer.”
• Nope. Not one bit higher than it was the day before the decision was made. The risk is the same. Ridiculous fear-mongering rhetoric.
“It also exacerbates an unequal standard of care between Medicare beneficiaries, who do not have the choice to undergo a virtual colonoscopy, and those with private insurance who do.”
• Euphemism for rationing – battle cry of almost any anti-health care reform movement.
"By denying coverage for virtual colonoscopy, CMS is sending the signal that increased screening amongst the Medicare beneficiary population is unimportant.”
• Hmmm. I didn’t get that signal at all. I heard a signal of “show me the evidence in a Medicare population.” Period. There's no denial of payment for methods WITH solid evidence in a Medicare population.
By the way, the Colon Cancer Alliance is sponsored by a host of drug companies and by GE Healthcare, which makes and sells virtual colonoscopy machines.
Let's be clear: I don't have a dog in this hunt. I have nothing to gain or lose by Medicare's payment decisions - no more than any other taxpayer. But I can't stand the rhetoric. And I'm going to write about it whenever I have the chance.