Okay … then why didn’t Arlen Specter demand hearings? At the very least, he could have forced more debate by opposing the cloture vote yesterday. Instead, he uses this lame excuse after Bloomberg found an embarrassingly objectionable provision in Porkulus yesterday:
Got that? Specter missed this because of a “rush to judgment,” a phrase first made popular by the late Johnnie Cochran in the OJ Simpson murder trial in 1995. It’s no less of a bad excuse here, mainly because Specter enabled the “rush” himself. Specter has survived a bout with cancer, which Megyn Kelly notes, and wonders why Specter would support a bill that forces doctors to get federal approval on treatments before discussing them with their patients. The answer? Specter apparently never read the bill before agreeing to cloture.
Here’s what Bloomberg found:
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.” …
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” (511, 518, 540-541)
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 (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.
Basically, it tells Specter that he should have accepted death rather than expensive treatment, and that he’s a bad American for having survived. His doctors would have faced penalties for attempting to cure him if the FCCCER didn’t approve their work.
And Specter voted for it. What a boob!
He’s not the only boob who didn’t read the bill before voting for an end to debate:
The clueless lead the clueless on Capitol Hill, and it will cost us a trillion dollars to watch the circus.