NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

STEALTH CARE

March 5, 2009

The economic "stimulus" bill will create an entity called the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research, which will decide which treatments you should get, whether you should get them, and whether they should even be available.  It is modeled after a British board which helps run the notoriously inefficient and bureaucratic National Health Service, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

How will the new entity work?

  • These agencies will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is caring for you in a way the federal government deems appropriate and cost-effective.
  • Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective; the stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost-effectiveness standard that would lead to health care rationing.
  • It would determine what medical care should be provided and who should get it.

Moreover:

  • The U.K. board approves or rejects treatments after dividing the cost of the treatment by the number of years the patient is expected to benefit; such a formula is found on page 464 of the stimulus bill.
  • Under these formulas, younger patients likely get treatment for whatever ails them before granny can get her hip replacement; in 2005, the British National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence proposed that the National Health Service use age as a measurement of a patient's worthiness for treatment.
  • For example, in 2006, a U.K 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.

Medical treatments should be determined by doctors and patients and not by a bureaucracy that will ration your health care, deciding whether you really need it and are really worth it, says IBD.

Source: Editorial, "Stealth Care," Investor's Business Journal, March 5, 2009.

 

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