Stimulus

Because Nothing Stimulates an Economy Like Stifling Innovation

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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."

Worse yet…

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.

NEXT: Three More Reasons to Oppose the Stimulus Package, Based on Statements By One of Its Supporters

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  1. Bloomberg link goes to another Reason blog entry.

  2. It’s not new technologies that are driving up costs. It’s the limitless demand caused by a guarentee of unlimited treatment at effectively no charge to the person receiving it.

    That goes for health insurance as well as medicare, where the costs are dispersed over all people paying premiums, so there’s no direct incentive to save.

  3. Going to buy a gun today. Any suggestions.

  4. Believe you me, when we get our Socialized Medicine… erh, I mean Single Payer System, I’ll definitely won’t be expecting too much from the health-care system.

  5. “It’s not new technologies that are driving up costs. It’s the limitless demand caused by a guarentee of unlimited treatment at effectively no charge to the person receiving it.”

    I think litigation has played a far greater role in cost.

    No doctor, or their insurer, wants to face a lawsuit do to a missed condition or erroneous conclusion because they didn’t test enough.
    It’s a complete CYA situation.

  6. Nick, you can’t go wrong with a semi-auto 12 gauge shotgun, a .357 Mag revolver, and an AK variant or an SKS. Shop smart…shop S-Mart. You got that?

  7. Just for example, look at how auto insurance works. If you have insurance, the glass company charges the insurance agency $500 to replace it. If you’re paying cash, it’s like $150-$200. You can almost always get a deal if your paying up front.

    But if you have insurance you get this “Why do you care what it costs? You have insurance.” mindset. The auto body shops and autoglass places just jack up the prices to rip off the insurance company.

    That’s one reason auto insurance places want you to go to specific place that they have a contract with.

    But when it comes to health insurance, the government has put in place specific rules that prevent HMOs and medical insurance companies from doing that. So there’s effectively no cost control at all.

  8. “Those who believe the government can be an effective, positive instrument for good will have another chance to try it,” said Sinai, a political independent.

    How many chances do you fuckers get?

    Egypt – fail
    Greece – (partial) fail
    Rome – fail
    Facist Italy – fail
    Clovian Gaul – fail
    Germany – huge fail
    USSR – fail
    Modern Russia – fail
    Seljuks – fail
    China – fail
    Cambodia – fail
    Mexico – fail
    Venezuela – fail
    Inquisitor Spain – fail
    France – fail
    British India – fail
    British anywhere – fail
    Dutch or Portugese anywhere – fail
    Imperial Japan – fail
    Muslim middle east – fail
    Post-Colonial Africa – fail
    Colonial Africa – fail
    Colonial U.S. – fail
    Warsaw-Pact Poland – fail

    Seriously, how many chances? How many nice, free countries do you statists have to fuck up before A)you give up, or b) we’re all dead?

  9. Gimme some sugar, baby.

  10. Daniel, yeah, litigation plays a role too.
    But the insurance mindset is something that I think gets underplayed.

    Litigation plus the insurance mindset – that’s also a toxic mix.

    By analogy, imagine if you could sue your autoglass company for thousands of dollars if there’s a chip in your windshield. Or if they overlook a crack in a different window. Then they not only have an incentive to jack up prices – they’d be practically required to replace all your windows “just in case”. Insurance rates would skyrocket – just like they are for health insurance.

  11. “FCCCER”? Really? They’re naming it “FCCCER”?

  12. He praises Europeans for being more willing to accept “hopeless diagnoses”…

    I must be in a bad mood today. I’m trying to restrain myself from wishing this shitbag gets liver cancer just to see if he would accept a rather “hopeless diagnosis”, or if he’d use the taxpayer dime to do everything he could to fight it.

  13. i fucking hate socialists.

  14. 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.”

    That is right we have to accept a hopeless diagnoses. We also have to accept that no government bureaucrat would ever make a wrong diagnoses or the term “hopeless” won’t get expanded to save money. No that would never happen.

    In the end, these motherfuckers want to kill the old and the sick in the name of control and greed. That is really all it is. That is why people like Daschle always call their opponents Nazis. It is called projection.

  15. There are no “hopeless diagnoses” for the aristocracy, BP.

  16. Actually, Hazel, most insurance companies have contracted rates with the doctors and hospitals so they end up paying less than the provider charges if you have no insurance. Although, it is possible that they all raised rates as the system was developed, but when you consider the cost (as well as time) of their schooling, their own insurance due to litigation, paying nurses and billing staff, the number of available doctors and the greater number of demanding patients, we’re lucky the costs aren’t even higher.

    Insurance just spreads out the cost to minimize risk. Technology has something to do with it, but we do benefit from that technology as well.

    I blame the government regulations, fees, and taxes the most. The system would still exist without all that and it would operate much cheaper and more efficient. For example, insurers could offer risk based insurance (like you get with life, auto, and home) as well as coverage more tailored to what a consumer wants or needs. Some of us might just want catastrophic coverage for non-auto related ER visits without the bells and whistles. Most states don’t allow such offerings.

  17. “I’m trying to restrain myself from wishing this shitbag gets liver cancer just to see if he would accept a rather “hopeless diagnosis”, or if he’d use the taxpayer dime to do everything he could to fight it.”

    Shitbags like Daschle will never get a hopeless diagnosis. That is for the little people. I wonder why Daschle isn’t telling his buddy Ted Kennedy to stop wasting money fighting his cancer. Afterall, he has lived long enough hasn’t he? And God knows old Teddy baby had more than his share of destructive lifestyle habbits.

  18. “I’m trying to restrain myself from wishing this shitbag gets liver cancer just to see if he would accept a rather ‘hopeless diagnosis’, or if he’d use the taxpayer dime to do everything he could to fight it.”

    Sometimes I think folks on here overreact to poorly worded statements, but that “hopeless diagnoses” and “forgo experimental treatment” stuff really was obscene. I mean where the hell does someone like that get off? Even if I felt that way (and obviously I don’t), I’d be too embarrassed to express it out loud much less memorialize it in a book.

    Apparently its our civic duty to die cheaply and quietly lest we stand in the way of “progress.”

  19. chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system.

    I, too, am willing to chastise Americans for expecting too much; too much, for nothing, anyway.

    I am all in favor of letting people (and their contractually obligated insurors) pay for the privelege of being used as lab rats in exotic science fair projects. I am also in favor of allowing doctors to experiment on willing subjects, in exchange for free treament.

    But don’t ask me to foot some monstrous bill for extending your misery for an extra week or two.

  20. This is why socialists claim nationalized health care has “better outcomes” — they are far, far more likely to refuse to treat marginal cases. It affects everything from infant mortality to cancer survival rates.

    That’s known as “rationing,” btw.

  21. Nick | February 9, 2009, 3:06pm | #
    Going to buy a gun today. Any suggestions.

    Pick a position where at least 80 percent of potential targets are federal employees?

  22. Actually, private health insurers stifle innovation all the time by deeming treatments “too experimental” and refusing to pay for them. Conveniently, the patient often dies before the case makes its way to court.

  23. I hope all the people who voted Democrat (and particularly for Obama) “because the Republicans have to be punished” feel like jackasses now. Republicans were bad, no doubt, but now you see the pure unmitigated evil of liberal Democrats on full display, and we haven’t even finished a full month of the Obama presidency.

    I’m going to search the internet for a “Don’t blame me, I voted for McCain” bumpersticker…

  24. Nick, you can’t go wrong with a semi-auto 12 gauge shotgun, a .357 Mag revolver, and an AK variant or an SKS. Shop smart…shop S-Mart. You got that?

    Look into getting a Saiga 12. That’s right, the AK shotgun. Did you know that Webster’s lists it as a synonym of fucksome?

  25. Seriously, how many chances? How many nice, free countries do you statists have to fuck up before A)you give up, or b) we’re all dead?

    All of them.

  26. The mind boggles at this sort of thing. It really is hubris of the worst kind, that these career bureaucrats believe themselves qualified, morally and otherwise, to plan our lives to the smallest and most important details.

    But, what does one do? The media all chuckled when McCain stumbled into calling Obama’s socialism what it is, and today Newsweek proclaims “we are all socialists now.” How does one resist the tide of ever-expanding government when both major parties are, well, party to it?

    Where is this generation’s Hayek, or Mill? And if we found him, would anyone even listen? Mill spoke of the mediocrity of mass culture; has the media age doomed us to a succession of glib Messiahs who will dig freedom’s grave ever deeper?

  27. Apparently its our civic duty to die cheaply and quietly lest we stand in the way of “progress.”

    “We’ve got a duty to die and get out of the way with all of our machines and artificial hearts and everything else like that and let the other society, our kids, build a reasonable life”

    Gov. Richard D. Lamm of Colorado – March 1984.

  28. “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.”

    I hope this worthless cunt is raped to death. Fuck you Daschle. You are a goddamn blight on humanity for actually having the gall to tell people to just roll over and die without giving it their all.

  29. Goddamn it. These fuckers are really starting to piss me off.

    BTW, who was saying that Obama wasn’t a socialist again?

  30. I hope all the people who voted Democrat (and particularly for Obama) “because the Republicans have to be punished” feel like jackasses now. Republicans were bad, no doubt, but now you see the pure unmitigated evil of liberal Democrats on full display, and we haven’t even finished a full month of the Obama presidency.

    I’m going to search the internet for a “Don’t blame me, I voted for McCain” bumpersticker…

    Even though I have been railing against the GOP since Bush’s first sell out (Leave No Child Behind — actually, earlier than that when you count congressional misadventures in the 90’s), McCain only needed to do one thing to get my vote and everything else he had done before that domestically and foreign policy wise, I would have been willing to wipe the slate clean, and that was to vote against TARP. He didn’t so Barr got my vote.

  31. Hey, let’s just be glad Daschle was honest about socialized medicine. Next time some universal health care supporter tries to sell you on the farcical benefits of his plan, just point to Daschle’s honesty.

  32. Going to buy a gun today. Any suggestions.

    Depends. What do you want it for?

    Jimminy buckets, the unmitigated balls:

    The goal, Daschle’s book explained, is to slow the development and use of new medications and technologies because they are driving up costs.

    Its actually his goal to slow down improvements in medical care. His goal.

    You would have thought that alone would have sunk his nomination for Secretary of HHS, but to the Obama crowd, that was a feature, not a bug. We can infer, can we not, that the goal of increasing federal control of health care is more important to the Obama administration than improving the quality of medical care available.

  33. He praises Europeans for being more willing to accept “hopeless diagnoses”…

    I must be in a bad mood today. I’m trying to restrain myself from wishing this shitbag gets liver cancer just to see if he would accept a rather “hopeless diagnosis”, or if he’d use the taxpayer dime to do everything he could to fight it.

    Isn’t Ted Kennedy using taxpayer-funded health insurance to battle his cancer? We could put this to the test right now and see if they really mean it. I won’t hold my breath.

  34. As a physician, I promise to make the “hopeless” diagnosis rapidly as soon as Tom Daschle becomes my patient…

  35. Mother FCCCERs

  36. The only way to keep Social Security from spectacularly exploding is to radically alter the ratio of payers to payees. What better way than reducing the surplus population of the old and feeble?

  37. “Going to buy a gun today. Any suggestions.

    Depends. What do you want it for?”

    When in the course of human events…

    uh, I mean, hunting jackalopes. Yeah, that’s it.

  38. Actually, private health insurers stifle innovation all the time by deeming treatments “too experimental” and refusing to pay for them. Conveniently, the patient often dies before the case makes its way to court.

    Good thing you are free to change insurance companies or pay doctors directly (well you were until gov got in the way). Soon both will be illegal.

  39. “Even though I have been railing against the GOP since Bush’s first sell out (Leave No Child Behind — actually, earlier than that when you count congressional misadventures in the 90’s), McCain only needed to do one thing to get my vote and everything else he had done before that domestically and foreign policy wise, I would have been willing to wipe the slate clean, and that was to vote against TARP. He didn’t so Barr got my vote.”

    Oh, believe me, I’m not praising McCain. He’s been on the wrong side of many issues that are important to me, but I knew that the stage was set for the Democrats to “engage warp-factor-10” toward socialism once they got in power. Ironically, this stage-setting was due in large part to the public’s disgust with the Republicans. In the average voter’s mind:

    “Republican = free market capitalism”
    “free market capitalism = collapsed banking system”
    “collapsed banking system = bad”
    therefore “Republican = bad”

    Nevermind the fact that neither of the first two statements (premises) is true.

  40. When in the course of human events…

    In that case, I suggest a combo package –

    The high capacity .45 pistol of your choice, and

    An M1A Scout or SOCOM.

    Go old school! Good enough to liberate Europe, good enough to liberate the USA!

  41. Going to buy a gun today. Any suggestions.

    1911 .45
    Ruger SP101 .357

    Mini-14 rifles seem to be cheap for a semi-auto .223 as everyone wants ARs

    The last one I bought was a Diana 34 .22 break barrel springer but that be for cans and squirrels and such.

  42. It’s all right though, because Obama will let health care employers fire workers who refuse to particpate in abortions and embryonic stem cell research.

  43. Actually, Hazel, most insurance companies have contracted rates with the doctors and hospitals so they end up paying less than the provider charges if you have no insurance.

    That’s how it’s supposed to work, but there’s a heck of a lot of regulation interfering with the insurance companies’ ability to refuse to pay for treatment based on the cost. So whatever rates they are contracted for are likely higher than they would be in an unregulated market. Also it doesn’t apply if you want to choose a hospital or doctor that isn’t in-network, and (IIRC) there are limits on the insurance companies’ ability to charge you more or deny coverage for going out of network. You pay a higher co-pay, but they still have to pay for the bulk of the cost – regardless of whether they’ve got a contract or not.

    The worst thing that happend to healthcare recently was the wave of “HMOs suck!” sentiment that went through in the 90s, precisely on the grounds that the HMOs would sometimes refuse to pay for expensive treatments, or require you to use in-network doctors – which was one of the few restraints on cost at the time. Eventually legislation under the Clintons barred HMOs from doing that, which only led to more cost escalation.

    Insurance just spreads out the cost to minimize risk. Technology has something to do with it, but we do benefit from that technology as well.

    That’s what it’s supposed to do. But we have a situation where people are required to buy auto insurance, which removes the cost contraint on insurance premiums. In the medical area, we don’t (yet) require everyone to pay for health insurance, but we do heavily interfere the insurance companies’ ability to negotiate lower prices for treatment.

  44. “As a physician, I promise to make the “hopeless” diagnosis rapidly as soon as Tom Daschle becomes my patient…”

    Silly physician, that’s the Health Care Komissar’s decision to make, not yours. Until the Politburo classifies Daschle as an unperson anyway

  45. This reminds me of the medicine cabinet from thx1138…

    “If you feel you are not properly sedated, call 348-844 immediately. Failure to do so may result in prosecution for criminal drug evasion.”

  46. This will, of course, keep life expectancy stagnant. I oppose the intrusion on health care, but I’ve become a bit reticent about the whole topic. The way I figure, there will be a huge outcry about the need for more medical research in 20 years when the baby boomers reach the life expectancy. This will lead to drastic deregulation to spur inovation in medical technology. Since it takes years for new technology to get discovered and perfected, it will be too late to save the baby boomers. However, it should be ready in plenty of time for me. I kind of like the poetic justice of the whole prediction.

  47. 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.

    Wait a second. Obama is advocating hopelessness.

  48. Daschle can fuck right the fuck off.

  49. I do believe this qualifies Daschle to recieve one (1) swift kick to the balls from every survivor of childhood cancer over the last 30 years. (Since 30 years ago, it was a death sentence, and now it’s something like 80+% survival rate, because we didn’t accept “hopeless diagnoses”.)

  50. Hazel, I don’t know what different states do, my experience is in New York which is heavily regulated, but even here they don’t prevent HMOs from denying out-of-network coverage. HMOs are supposed to deny it because they have a contract with the doctors to only pay for services by those contracted doctors. And insurance companies here cover medically necessary services up to a certain rate. If it is an in-network provider they pay the contracted rate. If it is an out-of-network provider AND the policy covers out-of-network services they still only pay a % of the reasonable and customary amount and the patient pays the rest.

    I think rates would be about the same in an unregulated market. There would be cost savings because dealing with regulations is expensive and intrusive, but on the flip side, there just aren’t enough doctors and nurses to warrant lowering their prices. They can charge a lot because their is a demand for their services.

    Regardiing the auto insurance requirement, there are enough competitors to choose from that consumers can get low rates and state insurance departments won’t allow gouging. Standard operating procedure of many DOIs is to allow a company to do a little more than break even on premium vs claims and expenses and then if you want to make a bigger profit, make sound investments.

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