Medicare change: 'Perverse' incentive or 'perverse' reform?

A possible Medicare pilot program aimed at reducing the cost of care for some patients is a political hot potato.

Story highlights

  • A proposed pilot program may change the way doctors are reimbursed for using certain drugs
  • Under the current system critics say doctors have a "perverse" incentive to use the more expensive drug
  • Critics of the pilot program say it unfairly penalizes smaller doctors offices and rural facilities

(CNN)If you have cancer or Crohn's disease, does the doctor give you the best drug to fight that illness, or are you getting the drug that makes your doctor the most money?

That's what a proposed pilot program for Medicare is trying to figure out and it's become a political hot potato. Powerful voices on either side of the debate describe the current system and the possible change as "perverse."
The United States spends more on health care than any other financially similar country in the world and yet we are still sicker than these other countries. While we spend about 17.1% of our GDP on health care and we don't live as long, we have a higher rate of chronic disease and more American babies die than in these other countries.