Over at Bloomberg, Betsy McCaughey writes about a particularly odious provision slipped into the stimulus bill:
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.”
The bill is vague about what sort of penalties will be imposed on doctors who don’t abide by the recommendations, as well defining the minimum threshold of participation in federal programs that would require a doctor to abide by them. McCaughey says that was intentional, writing that, “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.
Daschle won’t be around to implement his vision, but it apparently lives on for Obama’s next HHS nominee.
It is backdoor but massively intrusive provisions like this one that make the Obama administration’s “there’s no time to debate” push to silence critics and prevent a thorough analysis of this bill all the more troubling.