vincent.jpgFebruary 12, 2009
The worst part of the “Stimulus” bill is not the give-away to radicals; it’s the start of socialized medicine

By Vincent Gioia

The spending plan urged by President Obama and made real by Pelosi, Reid and three Republican renegades will become law. The Democrat nightmare was passed with the urgency of a car salesman who says “here’s my best deal but you have to take it right now”, no time to think about it or to really understand it, and certainly no time to discuss it with others. Take the deal now or lose it.

There are so many things wrong with the misnamed “Stimulus Bill” that it is difficult in a short time to name them all but how about these for starters:

Billions for the radical environmentalists’ agenda:

  • $20 million “for the removal of small- to medium-sized fish passage barriers”
  • $70 million to “Support Supercomputing Activities” for climate research
  • $10 million for biking and walking trails
  • $200 million for plug-in car stations
  • $400 million for NASA to conduct research on climate change
  • $600 million for diesel emission reduction
  • $650 million for “alternative energy technologies, energy efficiency enhancements and deferred maintenance at Federal facilities”
  • $1.5 billion to build “green schools”
  • $2.4 billion for “carbon capture demonstration projects”- (?)

Billions for federal bureaucrats:

  • $600 million to buy new cars for government workers- THIS IS ON TOP OF THE $3 BILLION PER YEAR THAT THE GOVERNMENT ALREADY SPENDS ON ITS FLEET OF VEHICLES.
  • $150 billion to more than double the budget of the U. S. Department of Education- THIS MEANS MORE FEDERAL CONTROL OF OUR CHILDREN AND OUR LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS
  • $34 million to remodel the Department of Commerce HQ
  • $50 million for the National Endowment of the Arts- REMEMBER HOW WE THE TAXPAYERS HAVE PAID FOR A PAINTING OF CHRIST IN A VAT OF URINE, AND FOR SEXUAL ORGANS PAINTED TO LOOK LIKE HUMAN FACES?
  • $54 million for federal programs that our government has criticized as “ineffective” or that cannot pass basic financial audits-PAYING TO CONTINUE PROGRAMS THAT DON’T WORK!
    $462 million for equipment, construction, and renovation of facilities at the Center for Disease Control
  • $1 billion for follow-up to the 2010 Census
  • $1 billion for AMTRAK

Billions in political payoffs:

  • $246 million for Hollywood — MOVIE MOGULS RAISED MILLIONS FOR THE OBAMA PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN
  • $83 billion for tax credits for people who don’t pay taxes
  • $4.19 billion to ACORN, THE OBAMA SUPPORT GROUP THAT IS ALREADY UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR VOTER FRAUD
  • And there’s billions more in tax money to finance lobbying of Congress by the banking industry, to pay outrageous bonuses for industry CEO’s, and to allow companies to buy up their competitors, all in the name of “stimulus”!

YET, as bad as all this is, most damaging to America and Americans is the start of the socialized medical program insisted upon by Obama and the Democrats.

This usurpation of one/seventh of our national economy was tried and rejected under the Clinton Administration created by the now Vice President, Hillary Clinton, when details became available for public scrutiny. The present Democrat leadership learned the lesson of the past and have now tricked the public by inserting the core of socialized medicine in the so-called stimulus bill which Obama himself says (like the car salesman) must be bought immediately. However instead of just a lost car deal, Obama says failure to act right now (or yesterday) will bring on a catastrophe for the country.

As David A. Patten has clearly described the hidden Pandora’s box for Newsmax –

“Buried in the bowels of the stimulus plan the Senate passed Tuesday are key healthcare provisions that will set America on the road to socialized medicine, involve the government in your choice of a doctor, and inevitably trigger another funding crisis that will be used to justify still greater federal intervention in America’s healthcare industry”.

Bloomberg.com broke the story when no one else read and reported this onerous detail of the 628 page bill which surely was not read by every legislature voting for it – if, for no other reason, they don’t care what it does other than it leads the country irrevocably down the path to European socialism.

The “Stimulus” bill contains a little-known provision that $50 billion President Obama expects to spend in the next few years on a nationwide digital health records system for every individual will result in rationed medical care. Obama plans to spend $50 billion “over five years” to create a system of electronic health records for every person who sees a doctor. It would demand every American submit to a government program for electronic medical records without a choice to opt out. Personal information could be shared electronically with millions of people, including documentation on abortions, mental health problems, patient non-compliance, lawsuits against doctors and sexual problems.

Sue A. Blevins, president of the Institute for Health Freedom, said unless people have the right to decide “if and when” their health information is shared, there is no real privacy. She also warned the public because the system is scheduled to be mandatory for everyone.

“IHF calls on Americans who care about health privacy to contact their members of Congress and President Obama to voice their own opinions about the need for opt-out and patient consent provisions, to ensure true patient privacy rights,” the organization said.

The IHF, one of the few raising the alarm at this point, said the stimulus plan would impose an electronic health records system on every person in the U.S. without any provision for seeking patient consent or allowing them not to participate.

“Without those protections, Americans’ electronic health records could be shared – without their consent – with over 600,000 covered entities through the forthcoming nationally linked electronic health-records network” IHF spokesman Blevins said. The bottom line is that patients “would end up losing control of his or her personal health information.”

Now Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York and an adjunct senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, has released a commentary warning about the likelihood of rationed care and a health care system that simply provides treatment when it determines the cost-benefit ratio for the treatment and the patient meets its guidelines.

Writing on Bloomberg.com, Betsy McCaughey, the former New York lieutenant governor describes the bill’s provisions as “tragic,” adding, “Senators should read these provisions and vote against them because they are dangerous to your health.”

It’s clear to see how devastating the bill is once one understands it creates a new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, to “guide” decisions your doctor makes about your healthcare. She writes “enforcing uniformity goes too far.”
McCaughey notes that former Health and Human Services secretary nominee Tom Daschle authored the bill’s key health provisions. Indeed, a warning about what Daschle had in mind was sounded in my article “Daschle is bad for America’s health” which appears on www.vincentgioia.com.

The stimulus plan bill calls for creating a board named the “Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research.” Similarly, Daschle’s goal is stated in his book and, as I pointed out, is to slow the development and use of new medications and technologies because they are driving up costs by entrusting all medical care decisions to a “Federal Health Board” of political appointees. 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.

“The (Stimulus) 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,” McCaughey said.

The bill gives the secretary of Health and Human Services the right to punish hospitals and doctors who are not “meaningful users” of the new healthcare system. The HHS secretary, authorized in the bill to exact “more stringent measures of meaningful over time,” has sole discretion to define which doctors and hospitals are in compliance. She says the provision is intended to slow use of new technologies and medicines that drive up the cost of healthcare.

As I pointed out in my article, and as echoed by McCaughey, the greatest impact will be the elderly because the law will displace the old standards – a treatment must be “safe and effective,” by adding a cost-effectiveness standard. That means treatments could be accepted or rejected based on cost, and the elderly would be disproportionately affected because old folks will be subject to healthcare rationing.

Other nations that utilize such programs typically deny costly treatments to patients who are senior citizens, and McCaughey warns that would be the case in the United States, too.

“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,” she warned. She cited a 2006 ruling in the U.K. that determined elderly patients with macular degeneration must go blind in one eye before getting treatment with a costly drug to save their other eye.

“Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost-effectiveness standard,” she said.

McCaughey points out the bill’s healthcare regulations would impact every American. “The stimulus bill will affect every part of healthcare, 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”.

As McCaughey writes, the incipient plan for national healthcare will actually hurt business and employment.

“The healthcare industry is the largest employer in the U.S. It produces almost 17 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product,” she writes on Bloomberg.com. “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.”

The only ones warning about this looming tragedy have been the IHF, authors like McCaughey, bloggers like me and conservative talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity – the entire traditional news media has been silent so it is difficult to arouse the public to coming destruction of their healthcare as they know it.

In an e-mail to listeners Limbaugh said, “The march to socialized medicine starts in the spending bill that Obama is scaring you into backing. This thing is packed with earmarks for liberal special interests. It’s not stimulative. Health provisions in the ‘stimulus’ bill tell old people: You’re gonna die, so accept it and get out of the way! Stop using up money we’d rather spend treating somebody younger.”

When this bill is signed by President Obama and becomes law doctors would end up with no choice about treatments. Hospitals and doctors that are not ‘meaningful users’ of the new system will face penalties; you and me and America’s healthcare system will be the losers. The government will be making decisions about whether you live or die and doctors and patients will have nothing to say about it.
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Vincent Gioia is a retired patent attorney living in Palm Desert, California. His articles may be read at www.vincentgioia.com and he may be contacted at [email protected]