Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported on a stealth provision in Porkulus that would set the stage for federal diktats in patient care. The bill created a Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research, a Tom Daschle pet project that would study the effectiveness of patient treatments and set federal rules on which treatments would be allowed by health-care providers throughout the US. As Betsy McCaughey reported, Daschle’s vision was to eliminate costly treatments and slow progress on medicine:
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.
When confronted by this provision by Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, cancer survivor Arlen Spector professed surprise at hearing about the inclusion of such a program. He then promised to vote against any bill that included such a provision:
Well, it looks as though it’s time to call Specter’s bluff. HA reader Dr. Eric Novack, who once led an effort in Arizona to put health-care freedoms into law, has reviewed the new version of Porkulus — and the same sections remain. In fact, as Eric notes, it occupies almost a third of the entire bill:
Of the 1434 pages, pages 806-1251are dedicated to the expansion of the federal health care bureaucracy. (That is, not including the COBRA, Medicaid, etc. expansion that begins on page 1278.)page 826 line 8 establishes: There is hereby established a Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Clinical Effectiveness Research