Friday, June 18, 2010

Coming soon: ObamaCAM

After the Obama administration came into power there was optimism, in some quarters, about the future of the scientific foundations of medicine. Bob Wachter said, for example, that the $1.1 billion allocated for comparative effectiveness research under Obama's stimulus package would provide the “scientific scaffolding” for a revolution to bring medicine into conformity with best practice. Meanwhile the good folks over at Science Based Medicine, excited about the new openness and transparency we were promised, hoped the administration would listen to an appeal from the scientific community to defund the NCCAM.

A year and a half later, unfortunately, the optimism is unfounded. In that morass of legislation known as PPACA, AKA Obamacare, reside many provisions supportive of non-evidence based, unscientific complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Matt Roman, in a recent post at Science Based Medicine, exposes some of those provisions. Although Matt seems naively optimistic about the ability of government sponsored research to separate wheat from chaff among the many pseudoscientific treatments competing for the health care pie, the provisions he cites should dim anyone's hopes that the policy makers in this administration will promote a higher scientific standard. In fact, quite the opposite is more likely true. ObamaCAM is poised to be a big part of ObamaCARE, particularly with the nomination and likely confirmation of Donald Berwick, a big booster of CAM, to be head of CMS.

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