Reminder of health care provision in so-called ‘stimulus’ bill sheds light on the changing landscape of American opinion
A lot of folks have been kind enough to send me e-mails and write comments noting that the end-of-life provisions in the context of cost-cutting were already in the so-called “stimulus” bill. Much of this, it seems, stems from an excellent piece from the great folks at American Thinker.
If you remember, we covered the stimulus bill fairly extensively here at America’s Right, and to say that we somehow didn’t see this coming would be irresponsible. On January 26, 2009, less than a week after Barack Obama was inaugurated, Rick Saunders touched upon the health care provision in question. On February 10, we went into it further. Given the growing debate over health care now here in August, I think that those folks at American Thinker are right — we need to remember exactly what was done by this federal government, justified by perceived economic crisis and a still-lingering honeymoon for the Obama administration, back in late January and early February.
There’s no better way to do that than to hop in the time machine, and take a second look at a piece here at America’s Right written on the day that the Senate passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. That day, the news that there were socialized health care implications in a bill designed to stimulate the economy was first hitting the airwaves. Because it’s important we look at things exactly as they were then, here’s the piece from February 10, 2009, word-for-word.
Read it now, just as you did or may have done then, and afterwards I want to ask a crucial question or two. There’s a reason I want you to read this again, or maybe for the first time. Something I want you to see. Something I want you to feel. Bear with me, here — I have a point.
Senate Passes ‘Stimulus’ Legislation by 61-37 Vote
Economic recovery plan facilitates socialized medicine, means trouble for American seniors
Two weeks ago, as we were working our way through the House version of the bill, Rick Saunders wrote a piece here at America’s Right on the provisions facilitating socialized medicine buried deep within the legislation. Now, as the Senate has passed–thanks to a few turncoat Republicans–this nightmare spending bill disguised as a recovery package, we’re hearing about the bill’s effects on the American healthcare system once again.
In particular, we’re hearing a whole lot about new language in the bill insinuating that passage will allow for the reduction of costs, and for the development of a new agency to enable the government to “guide” physicians in their decision-making process.
This morning, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter–one of the three aforementioned turncoat Republicans–made an appearance on Fox News Channel during which a discussion with network anchor Megyn Kelly made it increasingly apparent that Specter himself may very well have been unaware of the details in the healthcare provision buried deep within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. During that interview, however, any hope that Specter would somehow “Bork” the recovery package was lost — while the senator conceded that the provision was bad, he said that he would not likely change his vote, that he could not go back on his “word.”
Specter protested the “rush to judgment,” lamented the possible “harmful effects” of the provision, called the legislation a “bitter pill to swallow,” but insisted upon its passage. He “made a commitment” and wanted to stick to it. Yet he said nothing about the commitment he made to the people here in the Keystone State, or about the commitment he made to the American people as a sitting member of the United States Senate.
Here’s the video. Watch it. The scope of Specter’s incompetence is difficult to believe without seeing it for yourself:
The aforementioned agency created by the “stimulus” bill, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, is among several facets of the healthcare provision straight out of the playbook of beleaguered Health and Human Services Director ex-nominee Tom Daschle, a longtime proponent of universal healthcare, and would enable the federal government to electronically track medical treatments of nearly every patient in the United States, monitoring such treatments to ensure that what your doctor, and my doctor, and everybody else’s doctor is doing comports with the government’s opinion of what would be most case-appropriate and cost effective.
Sounds a little scary? Don’t believe me? Here are a few a lengthy but enlightening excerpts from a February 9 Bloomberg.com article (emphasis mine):
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.”
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. 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.
I cannot help but wonder where Democrats think the rest of the world gets the vast majority of breakthrough treatments and medicine. AIDS treatments, allowing for longer and better lives for those affected with the disease, do not just accidentally appear in a university chemistry lab when “hope” is combined with idealism. Cancer is no longer always the death sentence it once was — where do they think all of this comes from?
Millions upon millions of patients in hospitals, urgent care centers, neighborhood clinics, battlefield tents and third-world apothecaries worldwide owe their very lives to the capitalism and country so vilified by those on the American political left. Without capitalism, there is no ingenuity. Without ingenuity, we’re heading backwards, not forwards, and we will see exponential increases in infant mortality rates and decreases in life span.
Specter, of all people should get this. He is walking, talking, living and breathing thanks to the ingenuity and enterprise of the free market healthcare system in America. And today, either he (1) knew about the underlying details in the healthcare provision in the bill, knew that they would enjoin others from obtaining the same treatment which saved his life, yet still voted for the bill anyway, or (2) he did not know the details of the healthcare provision–and presumably other provisions as well–contained in the legislation but still felt compelled to vote for the $838 billion “stimulus” pork-fest anyway. The former makes him a world-class hypocrite; the latter simply incompetent and certainly not worthy of the people’s trust. Either way, Specter today showed America that he is the worst kind of bureaucrat.
We move on. More from the Bloomberg piece:
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.
In other words — suck it up, seniors. You’re going to die anyway. Thanks again for sacrificing your youth to preserve our freedom and independence and raise us to be the ungrateful pricks we’ve now become. Gee whiz, maintaining that quality of life that some out there on the other side of the political spectrum feel as though you deserve . . . well, it’s just too darned expensive. Why treat your macular degeneration when you’re only going to use those eyes for another five or ten or twelve years, tops? We’ve got sex change operations to fund. Breast implants for teenagers. You understand, don’t you?
Again, perhaps the most unbelievable thing about all of this is, once again, that Specter can stand there and give his tacit support of this legislation, especially if he is aware that his vote will guarantee this healthcare provision be written into the final bill, undoubtedly aware that the very people hell-bent on driving American healthcare–and indeed America herself–into the ground will not just capitulate and take the offending measures out when the House and Senate bills are reconciled.
How many brain surgeries has Specter had? Two? Three? Four? Gosh, senator, don’t you think that at your advancing age it was one too many, that those healthcare dollars could have been better spent, I don’t know, providing fertility treatments to welfare mothers who already have six children they cannot support?
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.”
Yes, Mr. Daschle, by all means these measures should be rammed through Congress without the normal procedures that foster discussion and debate. By all means, we should hurry up and make these disastrous aspirations a reality before the American people catch on. Senate protocol? Procedures set forth by our Constitution? Bah — let’s be flexible! Time is of the essence! Quick . . . the American people are starting to pay attention!
Is there anybody with common sense even out there? Why are we not marching on Washington, D.C.? Why are we not getting the AARP involved, talking about this plan at every retirement home and dialysis clinic and casino bus depot from coast to coast? At the very least, a smattering of house-to-house bridge-club town-hall-style meetings are in order.
Last I checked, the AARP endorsed Barack Obama for president, largely in part due to fear-mongering efforts by the DNC. Even the organization’s Web site–which, honestly, looks as though it could be a leftover Obama campaign site–lauds the “stimulus” package an urges its passage. Now, their chosen candidate will facilitate efforts to ration healthcare to seniors, to force the elderly and our aging baby boomers to “be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them.”
You’re dying, grandpa — deal with it! Now that’s “Change We Can Believe In!”
Once again, the passage of this so-called “stimulus” package is just more evidence that the Democrats are following the Saul Alinsky handbook and making the best possible use of the crisis facing all Americans. Once again, this is more evidence that the Democrats are willing to put party before country, to put influence before effectiveness, to completely cast aside the interests of their constituents in an effort to curry favor with the healthcare lobby–and every other lobby with an interest in the $838 billion–and ensure the perpetuation of their own power.
The saddest aspect of this whole debate is that the “stimulus” bill will likely pass today, and will pass because of the blind involvement of incompetent officials like Sen. Arlen Specter, officials who somehow have faith that unfortunate facets such as the new healthcare provisions will be willingly removed by partisan Democrats during the reconciliation process to combine the House and Senate bills. These people are delusional, all of them, and I shudder to think of the consequences down the road for the America that I love.
My goodness, was that any less alarming then as it is now? Was it any less obvious, then, what the Democrats’ plans for health care were than it is now? If this is your second time reading this piece, do you feel differently about it now than you did then?
For the past few weeks, it seems, the Democrats’ plans for reforming health care has been at the tip of everyone’s tongue. From coast to coast, capacity rules and fire codes are being tested or broken as concerned Americans confront their elected officials, seeking answers to questions or merely just want their voices to be heard. Yet, as this piece from February 10–not to mention Rick’s piece from January 26–demonstrates, seniors and Americans of all ages had every right to be just as concerned for their health plans, if not their nation and their freedom, seven whole months ago.
I’ve written before about a prediction of sorts made by Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 28. In that work, Hamilton discusses the inevitable ebb and flow of federalism in our government, then and in years to come. Hamilton wrote that the federal government may, from time to time, wield excessive power at the expense of the state governments and of the people, just as, at other times, the state governments may wield excessive power at the expense of the federal government and of the people. Either way, drought or deluge, feast or famine, the very nature of this nation and its people will right a government listing in one direction or another.
I believe that is exactly what we are seeing here. While we cannot change, now, the contents of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the stark difference in reaction from the American public to two very similar concepts–the rationing of care in one, and end-of-life counseling as a means to cut costs in the other–should be enough to make anybody’s otherwise dreary Monday.
Ladies and gentlemen, we’re winning. It may not seem like it when you take everything a day at a time, but when you look at the big picture, when you take in the sight of the entire Hamiltonian pendulum, you can clearly see that while the spectre of a bloated federal government may have been peaking under a Bush administration which abandoned all free market principles and actually peaked during the first eight months or so of the far-left, statist Obama administration, we are clearly swinging into the opposite direction toward a more Jeffersonian approach to governance.
Think of the sentiments at the heart of the Tea Party movement. Think of the reemergence of the Tenth Amendment, the stands taken by Republican governors against the strings-attached stimulus funds. We’re moving in the right direction. The people are saying “no more” to a government that has been saying “yes, gimme.”
Now, it’s time to make sure that the pendulum swings as far in the right direction as possible, and that it stays there. Our elected officials and prospective elected officials, especially those on the right side of the aisle, must be aware that the key to obtaining and maintaining office lies in returning as much power as possible to the states, municipalities and, most importantly, to the people.
Thanks for dealing with the long post this morning. I told you that I had a point. I’m just glad I reached it before needing to split things up into chapters.