Cases for and against third-party oversight in healthcare

Now that $1.1 billion has been set aside for "comparative effectiveness" studies, many physicians and patients are worried that it might lead to more interference by the government. But in a recent commentary in The New York Times, Dr. Pauline Chen discusses why she thinks more oversight might not necessarily be a bad thing.

Dr. Chen uses the example of transplantation to make her case. The United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) provides "clinical oversight" for transplants through evidence-based studies and "consensus" opinions of everyone from fellow doctors to families of organ donors. Dr. Chen believes that the combination of sources from which UNOS creates its policies adds a level of transparency that is not as present in other third-party oversight examples such as, say, insurance authorizations. She describes her efforts to obtain authorization for one patient-an elderly woman with a tumor-as "pleading...with a disembodied voice." 

Regardless, there are still some who feel that the government (and other third parties) has no business breaching the doctor-patient relationship. 

For more:
- read this commentary in The New York Times