Proponents of Barack Obama’s health care reform proposals have been quick to point out that the words “rationing” and “death panel” do not appear either in the health care portion of the stimulus bill that was passed earlier this year or in any of the draft legislation that is being debated in Congress.
And you know what?
They are absolutely right.
Those words cannot be found in any health care legislation and they absolutely will not be.
Because no politician who wishes to have any hope for to be re-elected would ever use those words.
But the reality is that health care legislation that was already passed has brought us much closer to the type of health care system that the U.K. has where health care is rationed and where government officials do sometimes make life and death medical decisions.
The stimulus bill (which can be read here) established “The Federal Coordinating Council For Comparative Effectiveness Research”. The bill established the purpose of this new council as the following…..
The Council shall foster optimum coordination of comparative effectiveness and related health services research conducted or supported by relevant Federal departments and agencies, with the goal of reducing duplicative efforts and encouraging coordinated and complementary use of resources.
So just what in the world is “comparative effectiveness research”?
Well, fortunately the New York Times has explained it to us in plan English:
Under the legislation, researchers will receive $1.1 billion to compare drugs, medical devices, surgery and other ways of treating specific conditions.
In other words, researchers will be trying to determine what medical treatments are the most cost effective and efficient.
Now, when you start to hear politicians use words like “cost effective” and “efficient” in relation to health care, you should start getting really, really nervous.
Because the goal is to save money, which means rationing care and even denying certain medical treatments to the very elderly when it is not “cost effective”.
Even the New York Times admits that the ultimate goal of this research is to save money:
Supporters of the research hope it will eventually save money by discouraging the use of costly, ineffective treatments.
The good news is that it appears that the recommendations and guidelines that this new government bureaucracy develops will not be mandatory – at least for now.
But the truth is that they are putting the infrastructure for total government control of health care in place. They aren’t going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on research on how to make medical care more cost effective only to let doctors and patients do whatever they want anyway.
At some point the government (especially if it continues to be dominated by Democrats) will flip the switch and will turn the “voluntary” recommendations and guidelines into “mandatory” ones.
At that point doctors and patients will be very limited in their choices. In the name of “saving money”, health care will be rationed for many types of treatments and procedures (just take a look at the U.K. for one example) and certain treatments that are not “cost effective” will be denied to the very elderly entirely.
So when you see conservatives running around screaming about “rationing” and “death panels” they have a legitimate point.
It won’t happen right away, but the Democrats are putting the infrastructure for it in place. The government is going to end up with total control of your health care if Obama gets his full program in place, and it is not going to be fun.