Stealth Care

March 5, 2009

Stealth Care

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Wednesday, March 04, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Spending: The stimulus provides for the creation of a federal health care bureaucracy not unlike Hillarycare. Decisions that should be made by doctors and patients will belong to bureaucrats deciding cost-effectiveness.

IBD Exclusive Series: Inside The Stimulus

The stimulus bill commits $19 billion to accelerate adoption of Health Information Technology (HIT) systems by doctors and hospitals. It involves the creation of electronic medical records to be stored in a central database. This is said to be for reducing treatment errors and increasing efficiency in the delivery of medical care.

It also authorizes the creation of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology — and the appointment of a 15-member board of officials from federal agencies and others — charged with developing this nationwide health information database

It further creates an entity called the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research, which will decide which treatments you should get, whether you should get them, and whether they should even be available. It is modeled after a British board which helps run the notoriously inefficient and bureaucratic National Health Service.

These agencies will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is caring for you in a way the federal government deems appropriate and cost-effective. Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost-effectiveness standard that would lead to health care rationing. It would determine what medical care should be provided and who should get it.

The U.K. board approves or rejects treatments after dividing the cost of the treatment by the number of years the patient is expected to benefit. Such a formula is found on page 464 of the stimulus bill.

Under these formulas, younger patients likely get treatment for whatever ails them before granny can get her hip replacement. In 2005, the Orwellian-named British National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence proposed that the National Health Service use age as a measurement of a patient’s worthiness for treatment.

In 2006, for example, a U.K 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. After all, how many years would they be needing two good eyes?

The system that will store everyone’s medical records electronically, which was supposed to make health care delivery more efficient, will make it more subservient to government whim by providing a system to monitor doctors’ treatment.

Medical treatments should be determined by doctors and patients and not by a bureaucracy that will ration your health care, deciding whether you really need it and are really worth it.


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