Perhaps it's because two people in my orbit -- my partner's father and a dear friend's son -- have died of cancer recently, but I found Dr. John Marshall's oped, "Fighting a smarter war on cancer," in the Washington Post yesterday one of the more challenging pieces I've read during the reform brouhaha. Here's a taste:
Dr. Marshall believes that medicine can move beyond shoving poisons that mostly don't work (though they may briefly extend life) into cancer patients. Health care reform for him involves collecting national data, including genetic data, on cancer outcomes into databases and encouraging more patients to participate into clinical trials, a choice that current insurance practices usually discourage. The current bills go some distance in these directions.
These aren't the stuff that has dominated the political arguments, but whether and how reform implements these seemingly-peripheral details will have a lot to do with whether all the sound and fury proves worth it.