Monday, February 9, 2009

Attention, Older Americans: The Stimulus Plan Could Kill You

Drudge had the link to this, which points out some disturbing information about some of the detritus buried in the stimulus plan:

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.”[...]

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. [...]

And slipping all of this in is deliberate:

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.”

I'd argue with the author of this piece about medical records tracking: having one's medical records in electronic form might be a good idea, but having these records maintained on a federal government system is lunacy. The scope of the federal government is already so large that it seems as though the early American anti-federalists had the right idea; increasing that scope to allow unelected federal bureaucrats to poke around in our private medical records is quite frankly an obnoxious idea to anyone who still values freedom over government intrusion.

But the bigger issue here, as the author points out, is that this is really intended as an end-run around the debate on socialized medicine. By implementing key provisions that will allow greater federal oversight of doctors, forbid doctors to make decisions without being "guided" by bureaucrats whose only interest is cutting costs (and for whom patient care is completely unimportant), and mandate rationing of care among the elderly, the Democrats are hoping to get Hillary-style health care ramrodded into our society without any discussion of it at all.

This has nothing to do with the economy. It's nothing less than a massive power grab aimed at one of the few American industries still operating in the red. Giving the federal government such extreme control of the health care industry under the guise that stimulating the economy demands this course of action is an outright lie, buried in a spending plan that the Democrats are obviously hoping is too massive to have permitted a careful reading.

Tom Daschle knows as well, or better, than anyone that it wasn't "Senate Protocol" that kept Hillary Clinton from selling a massive government health care program to Americans in the first place; it was the people. The more Americans were informed about government health care and what that would mean for their freedom, their choices, their privacy, and their right to go to the doctor without a federal bureaucrat standing by with a veto that would forbid them from getting the care they needed and wanted, the more Americans rejected it. And this attempt to sneak socialized medicine into our society without any debate at all is the sort of thing that, in better days, would have caused good men to throw boxes of taxed tea into the nearest harbor, if you get my drift.

If you are as outraged by this as I am, please consider contacting your members of congress (contact information below) and tell them you do NOT want these health care provisions in the final version of the stimulus bill. This is especially important if your representative or senator is a Democrat.

To contact your Representative, click here.

To contact your Senator, click here.

The economy may be sick, but slipping a dose of government health care into the so-called "remedy" is too bitter a pill to swallow.


LarryD said...

Thanks, Erin. I've written my rep and both my senators (both libs, unfortunately). And I'm going to link to this post at my blog.

It is "stealth" legislation like this that erodes my confidence in our elected officials. Short of revolution, I'm not sure what can be done about it.

KC said...

Oh, my gosh! That's awful. Thanks for the heads-up.

lwestin said...

Thank-you for drawing my attention to this. Everyone should familiarize themselves with the discussions that have been ongoing in Britain. They have been openly debating the 'value' of born, living, human beings . A 'rubric of human value' , which is what the feds would be (without electoral input) developing in order to 'advise' on efficiency, puts EVERYONES life on the line.

You never know when your 'surprise' accident or illness will make YOU a less viable and worthy human being!

Efficiency is code for 'worth making the effort', cost vs value. Human beings cannot be dealt with this way in a civilized society. This can only happen in a society that has already given away the 'inherent value of every human being'.
We have, and now we pay.