Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) (Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

House pass­es ban on use of QALYs in fed­er­al health pro­grams

The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives on Wednes­day cleared a bill that would ban fed­er­al health pro­grams from us­ing qual­i­ty-ad­just­ed life years — a mea­sure­ment of how well a drug can ex­tend a per­son’s life — to de­ter­mine a prod­uct’s val­ue.

Qual­i­ty-ad­just­ed life years, or QALYs, are com­mon­ly used to com­pare ef­fec­tive­ness across dif­fer­ent drugs, but the Af­ford­able Care Act banned Medicare from us­ing them, and op­po­nents have ar­gued that they can be dis­crim­i­na­to­ry against peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties be­cause they put a price on qual­i­ty of life. On the oth­er hand, some ex­perts have warned that ban­ning the use of QALYs is mis­guid­ed and will on­ly serve to in­hib­it com­par­a­tive ef­fec­tive­ness re­search, lead­ing to high­er drug prices.

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