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Corruption in Legislating: Sneaking National Health Care Into the Stimulus Bill

Posted Feb 10 2009 12:09pm
This is why people are so jaded and cynical about their own government. The economic stimulus bill that we are told is too important to really debate and must be passed NOW! NOW! NOW! contains sneak provisions opening the door to national health care. From a commentary by Betsy McCaughey:
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."
We discussed that proposal here earlier, and how it smells an awful like the utilitarian ethics board NICE that controls the UK's NHS. And this control would apply to private heath care too. Think of HMOs being given a good excuse by government bureaucrats to say no to treatment. Why the Left isn't howling is beyond me.

Apparently research would come under the authority of a "czar" too, with the intent to limit advances in the name of cutting costs:
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.
Aren't these the same people screaming the loudest about increasing embryonic stem cell research? There's no rhyme nor reason. And doesn't this lead, at least implicitly, to the "duty to die?"

I tried to write in more detail about this yesterday and went nosing through the bill, but it is so long and Byzantine, I gave up. That's the corruption of these omnibus bills. No one knows what is in them--not even the legislators!

The fact that our betters in government want to sneak matters of this import into law without a debate tells us all we need to know about how the people would react to these provisions. And their attempt to use the economic crisis as cover, tells us all we need to know about their integrity and respect for the democratic process. This isn't an issue about whether these government controls should be passed or defeated. For now, the issue is that they should be debated. Otherwise, we are losing the right to call ourselves free.

Good for McCaughey for being the one who broke this into the public eye, and good for Rush Limbaugh and the Drudge Report for turning it into a high profile story.
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