Moo!

The latest “stimulus package” has passed both chambers of Congress and is being signed by the President. Although we all heard promises of how Washington would be different with more public input and transparency, the bill’s 1100+ pages were not even printed before it was voted on. So we, the public who were assured that this administration would give us the chance to participate in policy debates meaningfully, will not even be able to read the bill’s language until it is too late.

Some provisions of the legislation, however, are beginning to reach the eyes and ears of those interested. Among those provisions is a re-vamping of our health care system. Essentially, the federal government will establish a Council which will decide which treatments are approved for which patients under which circumstances, based on a cost-effectiveness model.

Currently, treatments are approved if they are safe and effective. Physicians have the ability to determine treatments or diagnostic procedures for each of their patients. Patients can move among several physicians to get multiple opinions before making a decision. And while insurance company policies are certainly a part of the decision-making process, there is wiggle room for doctor and patient.

In the new health care reform, the Federal Council will be making those health care decisions. Their cost-effectiveness model means that the cost of the treatment will be divided by the number of years that the patient will benefit from the treatment. The resulting quotient will be the number that is used to determine whether the treatment is approved or not. And, like golf, lower numbers are better.

For example, the treatment for a 10-year-old with a bone disease will cost $10,000. That cost will be divided by 62, which is the number of years remaining in an average life expectancy of 72. So the cost effectiveness number is $161.29. Now let’s look at a woman of 62 who is suffering from osteoporosis. For the purpose of comparison, we will assume that the cost for treatment is the same $10,000. But this time, the divisor will be 10, since the woman has already lived for 62 of the average life expectancy years. This cost effectiveness number is $1,000.

In fact, every treatment or diagnosis for a senior citizen will have a significantly higher cost-effectiveness marker than every treatment for younger people. And in the interest of keeping the cost of health care down, procedures with high cost-effectiveness markers are more likely to be disapproved. So we are about to tell the generation that defeated Hitler that their health care is “too costly”.

The other significant, but so far mostly unnoticed, word in that formula is the word “benefit”. In prior incarnations of universal health care, individuals with disabilities were defined as unable to “benefit” from health care since treating an intestinal disorder would not result in any improvement in the underlying disability.

This is not a new system. When a farmer has a sick cow, he calls the veterinarian. The vet looks at the cow and tells the farmer what diagnostic procedures may be necessary, what treatment options are available, and what the total cost is likely to be. The farmer then decides if “Old Bessie” will be able to produce enough for the farm to make it worth his while to pay for the treatment. If so, the farmer will say yes, and the vet will proceed. If not, the farmer says no thank you, and Bessie is not treated.

The new health care reform is bringing the standards used in veterinary medicine into human health care –- and we are the cows.

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  • elkabrikir

    This is just shocking—shocking!
    ———————–

    When I arrive in the barn, I hope Charlotte is there to defend me, ’cause, I’m one “Terrific Pig”!

  • elkabrikir

    I’m shocked, just shocked by these developments!

    ——-
    When I’m led into the barn, I hope Charlotte’s there to defend me as one “Terrific Pig!”.

  • elkabrikir

    sorry for the double post. It wasn’t that profound a statement.

    and……..since I’ve nursed 11 babies, I hope I’ve earned the right to have my “mooooooo” heard or is it herd?

  • http://catholichawk.com PrairieHawk

    Oregon has been rationing health care for years and since assisted suicide is paid for by their state-run health plan, the situation arises where they won’t pay for a treatment that might be palliative but they’ll be happy to pay for the patient’s suicide. Next our elders will be afraid to go to the hospital, as they already are in certain European countries that have euthanasia. May God watch over us and protect us, because I’m afraid that European and Oregon-style euthanasia are coming to Middle America.

  • matergratiae

    Sadly, it’s worse than just veterinary medicine. It’s called communism. The person has value only insofar as he/she is productive for the state. When that person is no longer productive, it is time to discard him/her and spend the money on someone who can produce for the state. We become a means rather than an end.

  • bambushka

    My experience with my current health insurance provider has not been too far away from the universal program. I was just informed by my insurance carrier that the plate and screws that were put on my fibula were an appliance and only covered 50%. Guess they thought I would only be using half the shelf life of the repair. Maybe I need to inform them that my people live to be ancient. Add insult to injury. This is the run around I get for paying 12K+ a year in premiums. Can’t wait till the government (incompetants) start improving on the service.

  • lrecord

    I have a question: The article states “…federal government will establish a Council which will decide which treatments are approved for which patients under which circumstances, based on a cost-effectiveness model.” My question is, this council will decide which treatments are approved for who? Does this apply just to federally funded health care such as Medicare or VA care, or are they proposing to set up an approval standards that private insurers can subscribe to?

  • kent4jmj

    I believe the betrayal of the American people runs very deep in this Bill. Health care is only one area covered.

    http://digg.com/politics/The_Smoking_Gun_In_The_Stimulus_Bill
    This link leads to discussion and article that exposes another area of corruption the pork in the bill that will be used to solidify Democratic power.

    There is too much out there to cover it all and my head spins from it all but I do encourage all to contact their elected officials and voice your disagreement on this nonsense.

    There are numerous websites that can help you to identify and email your representatives. congress.org is one.

  • kent4jmj

    Here’s another.

    http://www.onenewsnow.com/Education/Default.aspx?id=423020

    …Stanek argues that the stimulus basically amounts to a payoff for teachers and teachers unions who supported Obama.

    “The teachers unions are extremely powerful at the local and state levels — and certainly at the federal level,” Stanek acknowledges. “You can look at the money that [the Democratic Party] receives from the teachers unions and it’s enormous! And they are not fans of meaningful reform in education.”

    According to an Associated Press report, $39 billion is going towards K-12 and higher education, $8 billion is to be used in upgrading existing schools, $4 billion will be used for Head Start and Early Head Start programs, and $25 billion will be used to bolster No Child Left Behind. Stanek has little positive to say about George W. Bush’s signature education program.

    “I did not like No Child Left Behind. I think it’s a huge intrusion of the federal government into what ought to be local and state issues,” he shares. “It’s a way for the federal government to simply grab more power, and I think another $25 billion is just $25 billion more power the federal government is going to have over public school education.”…

  • kent4jmj

    And another. I’m on a roll.

    Michael Hudson captures the nature of the heist in CounterPunch (February 12):

    “When it comes to cleaning up the Greenspan Bubble legacy by writing down homeowner mortgage debt, the Treasury proposal offers homeowners $50 billion – just [half of one percent] of the $10 trillion Wall Street bailout to date, and less than half the amount given to AIG to pay its hedge fund speculators on their derivative gambles. The Treasury has handed out $25 billion to each and every big bank, so just two of these banks alone got as much as the reported one-quarter of all homeowners in America suffering from Negative Equity on their homes and in need of mortgage renegotiation. Yet today’s economic shrinkage cannot be reversed without a recovery in consumer demand. The economy has lost the “virtual wealth” in higher-priced homes and the stock market, and must rely on after-tax earnings. But I see little concern for wage earners in the Treasury plan. Without debt relief, consumer spending and business investment will not recover.”

    The big money men cannot conceive of anyone’s suffering except the mega-rich. If billions are not at stake, what is the problem? How can a family losing its house bring down the economy?

    There was a time in America when the interests of elites were connected to those of ordinary Americans. Henry Ford said that he paid his workers good wages so they could buy his cars.

    Today American corporations pay foreign workers low wages so CEOs can pay themselves multi-million dollar “performance” bonuses.
    http://www.counterpunch.org/

  • Kathryn

    Shocking? What is shocking about this? The tax payers don’t have money to keep the elderly on medicare alive–espcially with all the goodies to the unions and ACORN and Planned Parenthood Pres. Obama is handing out. And with birthrates having dropped off as they have, there are fewer young people to support the elderly. Something has to give. Medical care for the elderly and anyone (esp. the disabled, the very premature, welfare people) who take more from the “public coffers” than they pay in simply have to go. Wasn’t there a Governor Charles Lamm who said something like “The elderly have a duty to die?” Welcome to socialized medicine. Or is it Pagan medicine? Certainly there is little of Christ in this, and it will be be interesting to see if the so-called “Catholic” hosptials/health care systems tow the Vatican Line or Obama’s line.

    Anyway, I do not know the answer to the question on who these rules apply to at this particular moment. I assume Medicare/Medicaid and the VA are the immediate targets. HOWEVER as more people loose their insurance and with greater calls for a “single payer system” (a nice way to say Government run healthcare), this will eventually be for all of us. The banks are being nationalized, and as the American automakers. Health care isn’t far behind. Hillary missed it by about 20 years too soon I think.

    Oh, we are in trouble.

    Kathryn (formerly tednkate)

  • elkabrikir

    Kathryn,

    BTW, I love it spelled that way. (One of my daughter’s name is spelled like that.)

    I’m not “shocked” at all. I was trying to take a “tone”, which didn’t come through.

    It’s appropriate that the author used the barnyard animal analogy, because this whole mess is nothing but PORK and payoff!

    It’s also about the power grab that the socialists have wanted for a long time. I haven’t even listened to the news or anything like it for days. Too depressing. And, perhaps I’m just a quitter, but I feel like the influence of constituencies like ours is waning and will never regain influence. The Dems have bought the elections for years to come by paying off unions and the urban dwellers. They’re adding to the dependency rolls in many ways through this stimulus package.

    Just like the Israelites who clamored for a King, the masses, including those on Wall Street wanted a savior to bail them out. Well, they’ve gotten it: The Government. Once the power grab has its grip, it never is released. And the kings failed Israel too.

    Thankfully, we who read these articles want and need a savior too. He is the person of Jesus the Christ. I’m calling on every grace available to me so that I may persevere in clinging to the Gospel at this time.

    God bless you all as you journey to The City on the Hill: Jerusalem.

  • Ann

    Sadly, there is also a little talked about line in this monstrosity stating that any school or building accepting funds for repairs or upgrades may not be used for sectarian purposes (read that as religious purposes). So don’t expect any religious schools or churches to get any funds.

    The conservative Christian talk radio host by me has been blaring this all over the airwaves the past few weeks. Apparently a republican senator stood up and asked specifically for only this one line item to be removed from the bill. The democrats said “NO”.

    The healthcare implications of all this scare me…especially as a single person who may or may not have family available to help care for me in my old age. Also as one who has a history of female cancers in the family. Just when will the government decide I’m not worth keeping alive?! We should all be praying with all our hearts.

    Peace and blessings to all,
    Ann

  • kent4jmj

    Last one I promise. Its from Gun Owners of America and has further insights.
    Note: elkabrikir, Although I email my reps. and advocate involvement in the political process I do so with the belief that we are heading in a very dangerous direction as a nation. One that only God can ultimately save us from. As we abandon Virtue, discussed in another article here, and the ways of God, shoud we be surprised that we lose our freedoms and the financial blessings we have always taken for granted? Are we surprised that our health is in decline, generally speaking, because we no longer live under God’s Mercy and Blessings with a life of obedience, devotion and worship? The moral relativism that influenced many to vote for the lesser of two evils or for evil itself instead of having the conviction to vote for a candidate who displayed integrity and honesty instead of electability has cost us dearly.
    I can say that I see God’s hand in the life my family guiding us, providing for us and protecting us. A tremendous Grace indeed.

    Anyways here some more stuff with their slant of course but still factual.

    Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert
    8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
    Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408
    http://www.gunowners.org

    Wednesday, February 18, 2009

    It was a day that will live in infamy.

    President Obama traveled to Denver, Colorado yesterday to sign the
    multi-billion dollar, pork-laden, so-called “stimulus” bill into law.

    But forget the $787 billion price tag you heard on TV. Forget the $12
    TRILLION debt limit which the bill created.

    By the time debt services and other frills of the “socialism bill” are
    accounted for, the cost will be over $3,000,000,000,000 (yes, three
    TRILLION).

    This makes the bill the biggest government spending grab in human
    history.

    But what about the details? The hundreds and hundreds of pages in the
    bill were not made available until less than 18 hours before the final
    passage vote. But here’s what we know in relation to the gun-related
    provisions:

    * The final bill continues to spend between $12 and $20 BILLION on
    requiring your doctor to retroactively put your most confidential
    medical records into a government database. Based on our experience
    with veterans, we would expect the government to try to use computerized
    psychiatric records to impose gun bans on people who have sought (or
    will seek) treatment.

    * The final bill continues to fund liberal community action groups like
    ACORN, which has been convicted in previous elections for voter fraud
    and is now under investigation in several states for having engaged in
    massive criminal election fraud on behalf of Barack Obama’s presidential
    candidacy. Not only that, they have also been involved in anti-Second
    Amendment activism in New Jersey.

    White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel was at least honest when he said
    it would be a shame to let a crisis like the current recession “go to
    waste.” Like vultures picking on the nation’s carcass, the White House
    has used the nation’s pain to lavish largesse on its political
    supporters, at the expense of the nation’s economic survival.

    And, in the end, this act of ethical depravity was made possible by
    every Democrat Senator who voted for the bill, plus the defections of
    three Republicans: Arlen Specter (R-PA), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and
    Susan Collins (R-ME).

    If there is one silver lining to all of this, it’s the debunking of a
    rumor that recently swept across the internet. The rumor claimed that
    the provisions of HR 45 — the massive gun registration bill introduced
    by Chicago congressman Bobby Rush (D) — were “rolled into” what was
    passed.

    But having searched the contents of the new law, GOA staff has
    determined the rumor appears to be false.

  • goral

    Folks, save your money, guard your health and make peace with God.
    We have B. Hussein Obama, beauty parlor Biden, pope Pelosi and Manhattan Madam Hillary steering the ship of State. They indeed are seeing to it that this crisis does not “go to waste”.
    This is the biggest power grab and socialist advance in history.
    The Bolsheviks did it illegally, these guys were all elected with full consent
    of the selfish electorate.
    Don’t be disappointed like our bishops
    nor shocked like elkabrikir (I’ll hear about this one. She’s in a good moo(d))

    Should we be despondent?
    Not if you read elkabrikir’s 4th(?) post – We have a Savior.

  • dennisofraleigh

    Welcome, my friends, to Animal Farm. All pigs are equal. Some pigs are more equal than others.
    As I have said before, once the voters of this country turned control of the asylum over to the inmates nothing they’ve done so far surprises me, from the guy who thinks he’s a cross between the Mahdi and Abraham Lincoln, and the compulsively chatting Prattler of the House who imagines she’s the Pope’s chief adviser. And along with the keys to the asylum each inmate has been handed a credit card with no, repeat NO credit limit, allowing them to spend, and spend, and spend some more (that is, when they’re not running howling and screaming obscenities down the hall and smearing their you-know-what on the walls and calling it “legislation”).

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