October 21, 2005
The Honorable Arlen Specter
Chairman, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and
Human Services, Education and Related Agencies
Senate Appropriations Committee
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Mr. Chairman:
Consumers Union, the independent, non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports, deeply appreciates your support of $20 million in fiscal year 2006 funding to implement the comparative clinical effectiveness research provisions of section 1013 of the Medicare Modernization Act.
We strongly support the Senate’s level of funding and hope that you can prevail in the Conference Committee process with the House of Representatives, which provided $5 million less.
We believe that comparative clinical effectiveness research is the key to fairly immediate savings in the healthcare sector; it will pay enormous dividends to Medicare, Medicaid, the VA, and the private health insurance sector. Frequently, solid, evidence-based clinical research has shown that less expensive procedures and medicines have been equal to or even superior to more expensive alternatives. Unfortunately, to date most of the major disease treatment alternatives have not been the subject of good comparative clinical research. By better funding section 1013, we will begin to answer some of these medical questions, and improve the quality and effectiveness of the nation’s healthcare. The benefit to patients and to taxpayers will be enormous.
Thank you again for your leadership on these key research issues.
Senior Policy Analyst