Monday, February 09, 2009

Stimulating Attacks on Healthcare

Betsy McCaughey's column in Bloomberg today analyzed the healthcare provisions of the stimulus bill, currently under consideration in Congress (HT: Michelle Malkin reader, Tarpon).

Republican Senators are questioning whether President Barack Obama’s stimulus bill contains the right mix of tax breaks and cash infusions to jump-start the economy.

Tragically, no one from either party is objecting to the health provisions slipped in without discussion. These provisions reflect the handiwork of Tom Daschle, until recently the nominee to head the Health and Human Services Department.

Senators should read these provisions and vote against them because they are dangerous to your health. (Page numbers refer to
H.R. 1 EH, pdf version).

The bill’s health rules will affect “every individual in the United States” (445, 454, 479). Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system. Having electronic medical records at your fingertips, easily transferred to a hospital, is beneficial. It will help avoid duplicate tests and errors.

But the bill goes further. One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions (442, 446). These provisions in the stimulus bill are virtually identical to what Daschle prescribed in his 2008 book, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.” According to Daschle, doctors have to give up autonomy and “learn to operate less like solo practitioners.”

As someone who is trying to get employment in the healthcare industry, this is a concern. As someone who is in the second half of my lifetime, this is downright scary. Why? McCaughey explains that new penalties will be charged against doctors that provide treatments contrary to the federally mandated protocol (such as when your condition doesn't respond to the mandated treatment and your doctor wants to try something experimental).

In his book, Daschle proposed an appointed body with vast powers to make the “tough” decisions elected politicians won’t make.

The stimulus bill does that, and calls it the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (190-192). The goal, Daschle’s book explained, is to slow the development and use of new medications and technologies because they are driving up costs. He praises Europeans for being more willing to accept “hopeless diagnoses” and “forgo experimental treatments,” and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system. (emphasis added)

To Democrats it's all about money. People don't count, except as vehicle for the powers-that-be to control money. The problem is, it's real people who get hurt.

Daschle says health-care reform “will not be pain free.” Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt.

Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost- effectiveness standard set by the Federal Council (464).

The Federal Council is modeled after a U.K. board discussed in Daschle’s book. This board approves or rejects treatments using a formula that divides the cost of the treatment by the number of years the patient is likely to benefit. Treatments for younger patients are more often approved than treatments for diseases that affect the elderly, such as osteoporosis.

In 2006, a U.K. health board decreed that elderly patients with macular degeneration had to wait until they went blind in one eye before they could get a costly new drug to save the other eye. It took almost three years of public protests before the board reversed its decision.

This kind of "care" will be coming soon to a hospital or doctor's office near you.

McCaughey concludes this way:

On Friday, President Obama called it “inexcusable and irresponsible” for senators to delay passing the stimulus bill. In truth, this bill needs more scrutiny.

The health-care industry is the largest employer in the U.S. It produces almost 17 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. Yet the bill treats health care the way European governments do: as a cost problem instead of a growth industry. Imagine limiting growth and innovation in the electronics or auto industry during this downturn. This stimulus is dangerous to your health and the economy.

Call your Senators (not that it ever does any good with mine) now, and tell them to vote NO on the stimulus bill (HR1): (202) 224-3121.


Tsofah said...


It makes me wonder what else they have put in between the 1500 plus pages?

And Obama said there are no earmarks in this thing? DUH...I think Michelle needs to get him a Thesaurus and Dictionary for Father's Day.

Christina said...

I did email a message to both of my Senators and very respectfully (but seriously) asked them to vote "no" on the bill. One is a Repub. and obviously listened (although he can't always be counted on), the other is a Dem. and I don't know how he voted, though I know what I suspect.

This is downright frightening. I don't know how anyone in his right mind could want this.