Obama’s Two-Part Health Care Plan is Hazardous to Your Health

The health care plan advocated by President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Senator Reid and The Democratic Majority is hazardous to the health of every American. What the President would like to do with your health care is currently being widely debated, but what is lesser known is a panel has already been created in Part I of his two-part health care plan through buried language in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the Stimulus Bill, which became law last February.

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The name given to this panel in the President’s Stimulus Bill is The Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research, and is an already funded $1.1 billion enterprise run by federal bureaucrats—not practicing doctors on the front line or patients. All 15 members of The Council have already been appointed by President Obama. The two part Plan consists of 53 boards and councils, whose underlying method of cutting costs is based on rationing and denying care, not preventing health care need, much like the British Health Care System.

Part II of the Obama health care plan, dubbed “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act,” empowers this Council to create another level of bureaucracy, The Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research, which as in The British System, will determine whether to approve or reject treatment for patients based upon the cost of treatment and the number of years the patient will likely benefit from the treatment. This will have the biggest impact on seniors, but rightly has caused concern for Americans of all ages.

Part I of the President’s plan dictates that doctors and hospitals will be overseen and reviewed by The National Coordinator of Health Information Technology. This “Coordinator”, who has already been appointed by President Obama, will be responsible for monitoring treatments to ensure doctors and hospitals strictly follow what the government deems appropriate and cost effective, and to “guide medical decisions at the time and place of care.”

The language buried in the Stimulus Bill goes on to say that hospitals and doctors that are not “meaningful users” of the new systems will face penalties. The Secretary of Health and Human Services will be empowered to impose “more stringent measures of meaningful use over time.” According to those in Congress, penalties could include large six figure financial fines and possible imprisonment, even if the treatment was successful.

Section 102 of the Obama health care plan has the Orwellian title, “Protecting the Choice to Keep Current Coverage.” What this section really mandates is that it is illegal for you to keep your private insurance if your status changes, e.g., if you lose or change your job, become a senior citizen, or graduate from college and land a job.

Section 123 of Part two of the Obama health care plan, establishes a Health Benefits Advisory Committee to “recommend covered benefits.” In Section 142 of the plan, a Health Choices Commissioner is established to “be responsible for the establishment of health benefits.” So according to the bill, this “Committee” recommends what benefits the public are offered and The Commissioner enforces their decision. Essentially, the people receiving or providing the care have no input in the process.

One of the more troubling elements is found in Section 1233 which involves the federal government creating “end of life counseling sessions” in order to “reduce” health care costs. End of life matters are important and sensitive and should be addressed with great care. The federal government should not be involved with such matters to save money, and “end of life sessions” should not be included in a government rationing program.

The Administration and its supporters are not misguided in thinking reform is needed. But their two-part approach is a dangerous one that denies Americans the choice of what doctors they see, what care they receive, where they receive it, and how they pay for it. Health Savings Accounts are the one solution that unlocks the shackles that HMOs, some insurance companies and big government bureaucrats have placed on every person, family and business. Personal Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) already demonstrate an ability to change the system for the better. HSAs put the people back in charge of their own health care and give them incentives to make healthier choices about how they live.

Health Savings Accounts, coupled with prevention-related interventions are the keys to reducing health care costs for every person, family and business. Prevention of health care need is the most efficient and ethical means of cutting health care costs. It is a far more effective and compassionate way of reducing costs than manipulating health care “need” by reducing access and availability of care through rationing.

The goal should be to make health care available and affordable. When I became a physician, I took an oath to “do no harm.” I decided to add to that oath to “prevent harm.” Through prevention initiatives and Health Savings Accounts, we have an opportunity to bring health care freedom to every person, family and business. But we can only do this by defeating America’s Affordable Health Choices Act and start anew the debate for healthcare reform.

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