Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stimulus Bill Endangers the Health of the Elderly and the Rest of Us

Buried about midway into the Stimulus package is language that will affect every Gen Sandwicher and every elderly person.

Section 3001 establishes the office of The National Coordinator For Health Information Technology and requires the establishment of “an electronic health record for each person in the United States by 2014.” The electronic systems will be required to “ensure the comprehensive collection of patient demographic data, including, at a minimum, race, ethnicity, primary language, and gender information.” The law would require all health care providers, health plans, or health insurance issuers to implement these systems.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want my medical records in a federal database. Imagine the risks to privacy, regardless of the assurances in the bill. How often do we hear of breeches in electronic security as employees walk off with laptops? And imagine the cost to the medical system. Costs that will not provide patient care, but rather, “information systems” that will then be aggregated for government purposes.

Even more frightening, according to Betsy McCaughey on, are provisions that require the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, to “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. These provisions in the stimulus bill are virtually identical to what Tom 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.” He says that seniors must be more accepting of the conditions that come with age rather than expecting treatment.

According to McCaughey, 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 in a plan 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 determined 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

In essence, this bill opens the back door to a National Health program. It’s dangerous to Boomers and more dangerous to our parents. There are still three Republicans (Spector, Collins, and Snowe) who are voting for the bill, as well as all Democrats. If you care about your health care, you might want to weigh in.

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3 comment(s):

This is an effective article about the stimulus and the way it will effect us. Thank you for presenting it here.


By Blogger Jan Verhoeff, at 2:13 PM  

Thanks, Jan. The more I read about the stimulus package, the more worried I get. Our retirement will be seriously compromised.

By Blogger Pat, at 7:07 PM  

I just wrote a post "Ocean-Front Property in Arizona" (2/15/09)about how Medicare has limited my mother and caused her more problems than she'd had initially.

Frankly, I'm terrified of the changes the government is proposing because I have Crohn's disease and my treatments are $10K a pop -- and those pops come quarterly. If they decide I don't need my treatment like they decided Mom didn't need her's, I'd be up that proverbial creek.

Thanks for the post.

By OpenID lindayezak, at 4:24 AM  

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