How often do you see the insurance industry petition the government to set up another federal agency? Well, in this case, this most unlikely of events has actually occurred. America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the association representing health insurers, has asked Congress to create an agency dedicated to comparing the effectiveness of existing medical treatments, drugs and devices with new ones. (It would be intriguing to see whether some doctors' instincts are correct that snazzy new drugs pushed by reps aren't really better than the old standbys.) The association is suggesting that the new agency be funded and managed by both the federal government and the private sector. AHIP would like to see these effectiveness measures performed both before and after FDA approval is granted. As part of its request, AHIP is also asking Congress to create state medical dispute resolution boards which would screen medical malpractice claims--as well as claims against health insurers for provider negligence, natch--and toss out those without merit.