Socialized Medicine Hidden In Stimulus Bill

Discussion in 'Politics' started by AAAintheBeltway, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. I realize another poster cited this article but I think it needs to be quoted in full. People who want government, ie "universal", health care better understand exactly what they are setting themselves up for. Don't come back whining when some anonymous bureaucrat denies lifesaving treatment for your elderly mother. We need to save the expense so we can give free care to all those illegal aliens coming here to have babies.


    Ruin Your Health With the Obama Stimulus Plan: Betsy McCaughey
    Commentary by Betsy McCaughey

    Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- 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.”

    Keeping doctors informed of the newest medical findings is important, but enforcing uniformity goes too far.

    New Penalties

    Hospitals and doctors that are not “meaningful users” of the new system will face penalties. “Meaningful user” isn’t defined in the bill. That will be left to the HHS secretary, who will be empowered to impose “more stringent measures of meaningful use over time” (511, 518, 540-541)

    What penalties will deter your doctor from going beyond the electronically delivered protocols when your condition is atypical or you need an experimental treatment? The vagueness is intentional. 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.

    Elderly Hardest Hit

    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.

    Hidden Provisions

    If the Obama administration’s economic stimulus bill passes the Senate in its current form, seniors in the U.S. will face similar rationing. Defenders of the system say that individuals benefit in younger years and sacrifice later.

    The stimulus bill will affect every part of health care, from medical and nursing education, to how patients are treated and how much hospitals get paid. The bill allocates more funding for this bureaucracy than for the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force combined (90-92, 174-177, 181).

    Hiding health legislation in a stimulus bill is intentional. Daschle supported the Clinton administration’s health-care overhaul in 1994, and attributed its failure to debate and delay. A year ago, Daschle wrote that the next president should act quickly before critics mount an opposition. “If that means attaching a health-care plan to the federal budget, so be it,” he said. “The issue is too important to be stalled by Senate protocol.”

    More Scrutiny Needed

    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.

    (Betsy McCaughey is former lieutenant governor of New York and is an adjunct senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. The opinions expressed are her own.)

    To contact the writer of this column: Betsy McCaughey at

    Last Updated: February 9, 2009 00:01 EST
  2. wjk


    Or when you get denied by the bureaucrat because:

    You are fat
    You smoke
    You drink
    You don't excercise

    Not to mention existing conditions related to or unrelated to the above. "you've had diabetes too long. Your time is up. Sorry". "High blood pressure? You eat too much salt...DENIED". And of course: "Your too old, just die already".

    In fact, we'll treat you only if you are healthy and young. That way you won't overburden the system.

    All you free healthcare folks out there should start considering the lifestyle changes that will be demanded of you, because your healthcare ain't gonna be free. That's a certainty.

    Don't think it can happen? The food and tobacco nazi's are real, and they are busy, and I've heard it stated how obesity, tobacco use, etc...all strain the healthcare system. I think I won't recognize this country in a few years. Actually, I don't recognize it now. But change is good, right?

    When I read about oldsters not getting treated in the article yesterday, I thought about a movie I saw in the 70's..

    "Logan's Run"
  3. Mvic


    Well if the federal government is going to "guide" treatment I hope they will also exempt providers from malpractice if they adhere to the treatment protocol, otherwise it will end up putting providers between a rock and a hard place or an unfunded mandate of sorts, or a nice layup for the sharks.

    Maybe this is the 1st step of an eventual plan to have civil servants practicing medicine. The nice lady from the DMV moonlighting in the ED just reading off the government treatment guidelines as she gives you an LP LOL.
  4. Anyone know where Galt's Gulch is?

  5. When I heard Obama mention the use of medical info tracking & with the excuse of greater efficiency, my antenna went up. Just how much of a 'problem' is duplication of medical records and errors ? (And how efficient is the federal govt in how it conducts its actions.) This is just a means to enact a national identification & health system. They are using the tactics of the Fabian Socialists to try to sneak in their leftist agenda. These *&^% don't want the citizenry to see what they are up to and to debate this. They know that when the public takes a closer look at some of these proposals they don't want any part of it. Thus the mad rush to get it done as quickly as possible. - - - To all you hard core Dems out there, - - is this your idea of Democracy ? (I"m an independent with libertarian leanings myself.)
  6. Medical and prescription errors kills hundreds of thousands of Americans per year. Its a real problem. Whether this is any kind of answer I don't know.

    Its important to note that a private sector version of this is already in place and used against Americans every day. When you accept a private sector health insurance, you sign away your right to mecical record privacy and your information is enetered into a huge database used by other insurance companies to deny payment or eligibility based on history of treatment or pre-existing conditions.

    If this goes towards trying to further standardize care we need to be very afraid. Not of big brother per se, but of who will wind up being the real driver of any changes to what is "acceptable standard care". Drug companies and insurance corps- the real payers and profiters in the current system will deepen their control. Who further loses control? The actual medical providers and medical academia. Is this what we want?

  7. The difference is that I can go to different medical insurance providers. I can go to different doctors with different approaches. I can even decide to pay out of pocket if I choose. - - - I'm not forced into a govt controlled monopoly.

    I'd like to see a program where individuals have choice as to the level and type of care they get. I'd like to see vast limits to malpractice awards to take the profit away from the lawyers. (Ain't gonna happen since lawyers contribute big to politicians & are the class from which politicians come.) There's something seriously wrong with the current system but there are few instances that I can think of where govt is particularly effective or efficient. Why would anyone think they would be in this area ? Some don't like the idea that the current system is profit driven, but they fail to recognize that ultimately government run systems are motivated by politicians desire to maintain their positions and power. At least in a profit motivated system I have a little more choice as to who I decide to do business with. - - -