Medical Progress Today
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Volume 2, Number 37
October 14, 2005


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In the Spotlight

There's Already a "Cure" for Breast Cancer

Elizabeth Whelan, Medical Progress Today, 10-14-05

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As has been the case for the last couple of decades, people festooned with pink ribbons will be walking, running, and racing for a cure that seems ephemeral, always just out of reach. But is it possible that a cure for breast cancer is already at hand - and that a prevailing societal resistance to good news (particularly advances by the reviled pharmaceutical industry) has kept the fact a well-guarded secret?
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News

Studies Point to Drop in Heart Attacks
Wall Street Journal, 10-12-05

Editor’s Notes:

Despite public angst over rising health care costs, the state of American health care is not nearly as gloomy as newspaper headlines would have us believe. Three articles in this week’s issue, in fact, highlight impressive gains in the treatment or prevention of cervical cancer, breast cancer and heart disease.
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Lawmakers push plan to cut Medicaid costs
Detroit Free Press, 10-11-05

Editor’s Notes:

Two Republican policymakers in Congress have drafted legislation designed to fund a 10-state experiment to see if consumer-controlled health savings accounts can help reduce Medicaid spending. The legislation, if enacted, could encourage smarter spending by Medicaid recipients without compromising access to health care.
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New Breakthroughs mean better outcomes
The Star-Ledger, 10-10-05

Editor’s Notes:

As chronicled in our October 14, 2005 Spotlight article by Elizabeth Whelan, M.D., breast cancer is one area of cancer research where medical advances have been nothing short of astonishing in recent years. Declines in breast-cancer mortality are the result of years of painstaking research into the molecular evolution of cancer cells. This research eventually culminated in new, less toxic “targeted” treatments for breast cancer that have revolutionized how the disease is treated—and how breast cancer patients view their diagnosis.
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Cervical cancer prevented in 2-year study
The San Francisco Chronicle, 10-7-05

Editor’s Notes:

True cancer vaccines—that allow the body to recognize and attack cancer cells effectively—are still in their infancy, but scientists are making headway developing vaccines against infectious diseases associated with some types of cancer. An experimental Merck vaccine based on two human papilloma viruses (HPV) known to cause 70% of all cervical cancer cases has displayed nearly 100% effectiveness in preventing the disease in preliminary findings from a late-stage (phase III) trial.
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Commentary

The Constant Killer
Richard Tren, Campaign for Fighting Diseases, 10-12-05

Tren has written an impassioned call for reform of global antimalaria efforts. In particular, he attacks mismanagement and scare tactics, which have prevented international donors from backing preventive measures like indoor residual spraying (IRS) with DDT.
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Paying for Medicare: An Economic Look at the Program's Unfunded Liabilities
Tracy L. Foertsch, Ph.D., Joseph R. Antos, Ph.D., Heritage Foundation, 10-11-05

America’s entitlement programs—Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—are in fiscal crisis and are threatening the long-term health and competitiveness of the U.S. economy. Foertsch and Antos focus on what they call “the gravest fiscal crisis that America faces,” Medicare spending.
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High stakes in the Hague
Johan Hjertqvist, Center for the New Europe, 10-10-05

European policymakers are having a quiet—and occasionally not so quiet, as in the recent German national elections—debate over the long-term viability of Europe’s traditional social policies, particularly regarding health care. What may be surprising to many Americans is that some European policymakers are thinking seriously about how market incentives can improve the performance of national health care systems.
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The Age of Medical Progress
Denver Post, 10-10-05

The Denver Post points out that while we don’t have Star Trek-style medicine yet, we do have treatments like Merck’s cervical cancer vaccine that were unthinkable just a few decades ago:
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Good News All Around
Grace-Marie Turner, Galen Institute, 10-1-05

While policymakers are considering adding health-savings accounts to Medicaid to help control costs and improve care, there is a mounting body of evidence that health savings accounts are having positive effects in the marketplace. In fact, the evidence to date is almost uniformly encouraging.
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Research

Early Experience With Pay-for-Performance
Meredith B. Rosenthal, PhD, et al., The Journal of the American Medical Association, 10-12-05

Markets are constantly in motion. Incentives and information change rapidly, and producers who don’t meet new market requirements are forced to adapt or exit the market. But when third-party payers set the rules of the game instead of consumers, the wrong incentives—or at least inefficient ones—can emerge. This article documents one of the pitfalls involved in many third-payer systems: providers can lack strong incentives to innovate.
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Medical Progress Today is published by the Center for Medical Progress at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.

For more information about Medical Progress Today, please contact the managing editor, Paul Howard, at phoward@manhattan-institute.org, or via telephone at 212.599.7000.

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In this week's issue:

SPOTLIGHT

There's Already a "Cure" for Breast Cancer

NEWS

Studies Point to Drop in Heart Attacks
Lawmakers push plan to cut Medicaid costs
New Breakthroughs mean better outcomes
Cervical cancer prevented in 2-year study

COMMENTARY

The Constant Killer
Paying for Medicare: An Economic Look at the Program's Unfunded Liabilities
High stakes in the Hague
The Age of Medical Progress
Good News All Around

RESEARCH

Early Experience With Pay-for-Performance
Center for Medical Progress 
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