Porkulus Bill Has Some Nasty Surprises

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I haven’t said much about this monstrosity of a stimulus porkulus bill, so let me just go on record as saying that this thing is arguably the worst piece of legislation ever signed into law. Assuming it will be and we all know it will. It will do nothing to improve the economy and it will only move the nation further towards socialism. And it will be Barry and the Democrats fault. Totally. Yeah a couple or three Republicans may vote for it in the Senate but frankly all three of those are damn near liberals anyway so they simply do not count.

This is a partisan bill and they get the blame for it and I don’t want to hear one fricken moron who voted for them and Barry to complain when things do not improve or when they see some very disturbing changes in how things work in their lives.

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.

(Bold emphasis added by me.)

Get that, folks. This bill allows the federal government to ration health care. They get to decide if you, in your old age, need those pills that keep you from feeling that arthritis pain or keeping your vision. Not you. Not your doctor. But the all seeing, all knowing Messiah and his followers in government. And if you thought HMOs were unfeeling about your medical treatment just wait until some faceless bureaucrat in Washington has the say so over things.

Look, I love Great Britain, but I do not want their national health system.

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Health Care Around the World: Great Britain

April 23, 2008 in Health Care Around the World, International Health Care Systems

Great Britain represents all that is good and bad with centralized, single-payer health care systems. Health care spending is fairly low (7.5% of GDP) and very equitable. Long wait lists for treatment, however are endemic and rationing pervades the system. Patients have little choice of provider and little access to specialists.

Percent Insured. ~100%

Funding. Great Britain has a single payer system funded by general revenues. With any centralized system, avoiding deficits is difficult. In 2006, Great Britain had a £700 million deficit despite the fact that health care spending increased by £43 billion over five years.

Private Insurance. 10% of Britons have private health insurance. Private health insurance replicates the coverage provided by the NHS, but gives patients access to higher quality care, and reduced waiting times.

Physician Compensation. Unlike in the case of other single payer systems such as Norway, most physicians and nurses are mostly government employees. In 2004, the NHS negotiated lower salaries for doctors in exchange for reduced work hours. Few physicians are available at night or on weekends. Because of low compensation, there is a significant shortage of specialists.

Physician Choice. Patients have very little physician choice. However, under the experimental London Patient Choice Project, patients waiting more than six months for treatment will be offered a choice of four different treatment providers.

Copayment/Deductibles. There are no deductibles and almost no copayments except for small copayments for prescription drugs, as well as for optical and dental care.

Waiting Times. Waiting lists are a huge problem in Great Britain. Some examples: 750,000 are on waiting lists for hospital admission; 40% of cancer patients are never able to see an oncologist; there is explicit rationing for services such as kidney dialysis, open heart surgery and care for the terminally ill. Further, minimum waiting times have been instituted to reduce costs. “A top-flight hospital like Suffolk Est PCT was ordered to impose a minimum waiting time of at least 122 days before patients could be treated or the hospital would lose a portion of its funding.”

Benefits Covered. The NHS system offers comprehensive coverage. Because of rationing, care might not be as easy to get as advertised. Terminally ill patients may be denied treatment. David Cameron has proposed that the NHS refuse treatment to smokers or the obese (see 7 Sept 2007 post).

The ironic thing about this – well, one of many that is – is that the rich people, the elites from Hollywood, the media, and in politics, are still going to be able to buy their own high-quality health care.  Oh they may have to do it creatively, but rest assured that Barbara Streisand, Tom Daschle, Katie Couric, and Barry Obama will not have any government doctor telling them what medical treatment they can and can not have.

You think Demi Moore is going to have to get permission from the government for a new set of hooters when the ones she has go flat? I don’t think so.  Do you really believe that Barbara Streisand will have to justify any treatments in her old age?  Please, she will be alive 100 years from now.

So all you pussy Independents and Democrats who voted for change are going to get it. It won’t be what you expected, but then you were all too caught up in this historical moment of hopey, changey celebrity to realize that you were voting for a fraud whose only concern was gaining power over you along with Harry Reid and Nancy “You can bet the Speaker of the House won’t have to get permission for another face lift” Pelosi.

And frankly I wouldn’t give a crap how it affects you except that guys like me are going to get dragged into it too. Because in this new Democratic health care world me and my damaged shoulder will just have to hurt for the next 30 years because I am pretty sure I will be way down on any rationing list.

Assuming I’m allowed to live that long.  They may just decide it’s cheaper to put me down.

And you, too.

And speaking of that, here’s an example of the possible future under our new Democrat Overlords (And I, for one, do not welcome them).

Sure getting Jenny Agutter out of a window for sex is awesome, but there’s a price to pay and it’s having to die before you even reach the age where you are just figuring out how to actually do it correctly.

jenny-agutter02

Hmm, on second thought hitting that for ten years doesn’t sound like a bad idea at all.   And I am thinking my gal readers feel the same about what’s his name, too.

If we all looked that good that is.  Unfortunately, this is more typical of the human condition.

redneck_wedding3

Man, that’ll smack that good taste right out of your mouth won’t it?

So, all things considered equal, I personally would like to have a little more time to find the pretty gal I deserve (and got) and then some more time to enjoy my children and grandchildren in a relatively pain-free state if  possible.

I don’t want the goverment shipping me off to some death theater for the late show.

BTW, I hate orange. Who the hell chooses to die looking at orange except some idiot University of Tennessee fan?

It’s a brave new Obama world, people.

And you do know that Soylent Green is people, don’t you?  Old people, evidently.

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4 Comments

  1. “Old people, evidently.”

    Of course, they’re more tender.

  2. Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them.
    WTF?

  3. Well, this is all very scary. I’ve read a lot of this during the day today and with the Libs positioning themselves to nationalize the banks because no one will buy bank stock anymore and the govt will have to save them too because the banks won’t be able to support themselves I won’t be surprised about anything that happens.

    And you’re right. The rich will always be rich and afford their own healthcare. Congress and their families don’t have the same healthcare as the rest of us so they won’t care.

    It’s gonna get messy sooner or later. I hope the blame sticks this time and the Libs can’t spin their way out of it like they did with the sub-prime mortgage mess.

  4. “Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them.”

    This is not surprising. Consider: This President and his administration, and all the lib’s in Congress, place no value on children-in-waiting–the ones who haven’t been born, yet, but look like infants in ultrasounds. Unwanted children are a “burden,” according to The One, no matter how many childless couples out there would pay all medical costs for the birth mom, in exchange for the ability to adopt the child. This bunch will even allow that Hitler-esque procedure known (cleaned up, that is) as “late-term abortion,” aka to some of us as cold-blooded murder.

    So…they don’t place any value on the elderly, either. Shuffle ’em off to old folks’ homes, as in the past–cheap ones, because nobody’s got any money to pay for good care; just warehouse ’em until they have the good grace to die. The gas ovens might be more merciful.


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