Saturday, July 13, 2024

G-BA Criticizes Healthy Heart Act

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The Healthy Heart Act aims to reduce cardiovascular diseases through additional check-ups and medication. However, G-BA’s impartial chairman, Prof. Josef Hecken, argues that these solutions counteract the goal of improving health literacy and ensuring healthy living conditions. The Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) presented a draft bill for the “Healthy Heart Act (GHG),” aiming to strengthen heart health. The Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) and other healthcare organizations were invited to comment on the proposed changes.

Prof. Josef Hecken, the impartial chairman of the G-BA, expressed significant concerns about the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the proposed measures. Hecken emphasized that while the goal of reducing cardiovascular diseases is clear, the approaches suggested—additional check-ups and early, long-term medication administration—might not achieve this goal. He stated that these approaches focus solely on statutory health insurance benefits, neglecting the importance of improving individual health literacy and healthy living conditions.

One of the primary concerns raised by Hecken is the lack of systematic and transparent evaluation of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the proposed services. The draft bill suggests introducing these services without adequate testing, which undermines the basic principle that statutory health insurance benefits should be proven effective and beneficial before implementation. Hecken pointed out that there are ongoing testing processes at the G-BA for early detection of familial lipid metabolism disorders in children and the use of statins. Implementing these services without waiting for the results of these tests is premature and could lead to significant side effects, particularly with potent drugs like statins.

Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness

Since the draft law’s announcement, various stakeholders have voiced strong concerns. The key issue is whether the ministry is addressing these technical concerns seriously or merely soliciting comments as a formality. Hecken’s statement suggests that the current content of the draft bill does not meet the high standards implied by the law’s title. The G-BA’s critique emphasizes that any new health legislation should undergo rigorous evaluation to ensure it truly benefits public health without unnecessary risks or costs. This stance advocates for a more cautious and evidence-based approach to implementing health policies.

The BMG’s draft bill also raises questions about the broader implications of introducing new medical services without a clear evidence base. The emphasis on early and long-term medication, such as statins, highlights the potential for significant side effects and the need for careful consideration of patient safety. Hecken’s remarks underscore the importance of a balanced approach that integrates preventative measures, lifestyle changes, and medical interventions based on robust evidence. The G-BA’s position calls for a careful, step-by-step validation process to ascertain the genuine impact of proposed health interventions.

 Healthy Heart Act

Technical Concerns and Response of Healthy Heart Act

The introduction of new check-ups and preventive medication without conclusive evidence could lead to unintended consequences, including over-medication and unnecessary healthcare costs. The effectiveness of these measures should be thoroughly evaluated through transparent, systematic processes. This approach ensures that any new health service is not only effective but also offers good value for money, safeguarding the financial sustainability of the healthcare system. The debate surrounding the Healthy Heart Act highlights the complexities involved in health policy-making and the need for collaborative efforts between policymakers, healthcare providers, and researchers.

The strong concerns expressed by various stakeholders since the draft law’s announcement indicate a pressing need for more comprehensive discussions. These discussions should focus on the real-world implications of the proposed measures, considering both medical and economic perspectives. The G-BA’s feedback serves as a crucial reminder that health policies must be grounded in solid evidence to achieve their intended goals without compromising patient safety or healthcare efficiency.

The Healthy Heart Act’s proposed solutions have sparked significant debate among health professionals. The G-BA’s feedback highlights the need for thorough evaluation and evidence-based practices in health policy-making. Ensuring that new health measures are both effective and cost-efficient is crucial for sustainable healthcare improvement. The G-BA’s critique underscores the importance of balancing innovative healthcare solutions with proven efficacy and cost-effectiveness. This approach ensures that new health policies genuinely benefit public health while maintaining the integrity and financial stability of healthcare systems.

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Resource: Gemeinsamer Bundesausschuss, July 08, 2024

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