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    NextGov: Groups wrangle over public access to subsidized health care data

    NextGov has an interesting story about privacy concerning subsidized health care. 

    Debate is growing over public access to anticipated data comparing the results of health care treatments subsidized by Medicare and Medicaid.

    The records of physician claims paid by Medicare are not available currently to the public, despite court battles by consumer advocates to make the Health and Human Services Department release certain claims that are stripped of patient names. “No other vendors, besides those doing work for classified operations, have that kind of privacy,” said Brian Klepper, managing principal of Florida-based market research firm Healthcare Performance. […]

    “I’m not saying Americans should be forced to accept the cheapest form of therapy, but we should know what the costs are at all times,” [said Dr. David C. Kibbe, senior adviser to the Center for Health Information Technology at the American Academy of Family Physicians]. “And if you are going to pay for an expensive treatment out of your paycheck, or your tax money, and there are less expensive treatments that have been shown to be equally or more effective, you shouldn’t be forced to pay for the more costly treatment.” […]

    But Randy Burkholder, associate vice president of pharmaceutical industry group PhRMA, said there is a legitimate concern that comparative clinical effectiveness research can be misused to deny patients access to needed care.

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