Incoming House Oversight Chair Targets Orthopedic, Other Medical Devices

The incoming GOP chair of the House Oversight and Reform committee is considering directing CMS to assess the cost effectiveness of medical devices, alleging unnecessary use of orthopedic implants, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said his personal physician told him surgeons have an incentive under Medicare to implant artificial joints even when it might be equally as effective and safer to hold off.

"They have got to come up with a system that doesn't reward people for putting more metal in somebody's spine," Mr. Issa said. "My committee can help by looking at whether the government is answering and informing about the lowest-cost, least-invasive procedures."

Mr. Issa said it may be time for CMS to consider cost-effectiveness in coverage decisions for medical devices, as long as the decisions are made by physicians, not by government "bureaucrats." In the past, Republicans have been opposed to government panels making cost-effectiveness decisions, but Mr. Issa spoke approvingly of "medical panels of people who care about what's best for their patients."

Read the Wall Street Journal report on medical devices.

Read more coverage on federal oversight of implants:

- CMS Rejects Request for More Specific Orthopedic Device Codes

- Federal Proposal to Speed up Reimbursement for New Medical Devices Now Open for Public Comment

- CMS Seeking Feedback on Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement Outcomes

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