A recent New York Times article cast a critical eye on one of the latest entries in the high stakes, high technology medical arms race. Proton beam therapy, the procedure under discussion, purports to treat cancer. But even though not a single randomized clinical trial has been done, Medicare is still willing to shower 50,000 scarce Federal dollars to providers for proton beam therapy for prostate cancer.
Considering that there are no studies evaluating the long-term outcomes, and no studies evaluating potential serious side effects of proton beam therapy, Medicare might just as well be burning $25,000 every time it pays for such a procedure. Worse, this is not an isolated scenario.
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