Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Porkulus Establishes Department of Death

The "stimulus" bill should not really be dealing with policy issues, such as health-care and end-of-life decisions, but it does. Why? Because it will get through that way.

...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).

...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

The "Council" described below is Tom Daschle's idea--in essence, it will be the Department of Death Decisions (that is to say, they'll make the decision that your mother can just die, please...)

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

Quite a distance from fixing potholes in Elkhart, IN., right?

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

...which is to say that the bill treats PATIENTS as a cost problem.

The real Obama begins to emerge.

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