Snuck Into The ‘Stimulus’ Package

I really hate how our elected officials truly believe we are too stupid to see what they are doing. President Obama assured us there were NO ‘earmarks’ in the stimulus package. Now, the way I interpret that is he was assuring us that everything dollar in that package was there to help actually stimulate the economy; that there are no ‘earmarks’ for special interest pet projects that really are not necessary, at least not immediately.

Using my understanding of “no earmarks” I actually expected to find that all the money we are borrowing from China and Saudi Arabia will actually be used to help ailing businesses stay afloat so more citizens don’t lose their jobs, and also to help the citizens with more food stamps, some financial aid while looking for a new job after being dumped from the job they did have, and helping the State’s pay for some infrastructure such as teachers, fire and police, etc.

Well, in this wonderful ‘stimulus’ package, that I’m not sure we should be doing to start with, is about $3 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services. I know, you’re probably thinking “what’s so wrong about that”, aren’t you? Well, you have to read the bill to understand. To me it looks like there is NO stimulus for anyone other than the agency involved with this money. OH, and government starting to dictate our health and wellness regimen.

Sandy over at the Junkfood Science Blog did a nice breakdown on this segment of the bill. I strongly urge you to read the whole thing and then tell me this is still a good thing:

Government-oversight of healthcare — End of discussion?

As we all know, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R.1). Whether or not the enormity of this legislation, and what it means for the future of our healthcare, is understood probably depends on whether people have read the 1,434 pages of legislation and get the real meaning of words like quality, cost effective, harmonize, biosurveillance, public health, health disparities, genomics and preventive wellness.

There are seven versions of the legislation at various stages, including the final version the House approved, the Senate’s amended sections, and the most current print version for the public. There are widespread misunderstandings, rumors and healthy doses of doublespeak in the media about what the legislation says. The simplest solution is to go directly to the source.

© 2009 Sandy Szwarc


Read the FULL STORY here.

I don’t know, the words Government and oversight being used together looks like an oxymoron to me. I mean, the government couldn’t oversee itself out of a paper bag with a detailed map. I personally am not confident that they know better than I or my doctor what is best for my health.

The language is vague and many argue that it really doesn’t say that the HHS will have the final say over how your doctor treats you; but that is why government cannot be trusted. They have it worded so it doesn’t explicitly say that, but use language that actually implies they most certainly can. That is IF you really read it carefully. How many will actually do that?

What really bothers me about this though is the additional $3 Billion that will be used for a National Health IT database.

National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

For years, JFS has been warning of the plans being made for nationalized integrated Health IT, the research on its effects on patients’ clinical outcomes, costs (both financial and to lives and medical errors), the public-private stakeholder interests behind this agenda, and privacymultiple security concerns. As reviewed here, the National Coordinator for Health IT position was created in 2004. To date, it has focused efforts on mandating integrated electronic medical records for providers of care to Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. and

This legislation expedites the adoption of nationalized electronic medical records with $3 billion in additional funding and empowers the Office of the National Coordinator to establish the technical standards, certify and regulate electronic medical records (EMRs) in accordance with the determinations of the Secretary of HHS and “towards a coordinated national goal.” It also “updates the Federal Health IT Strategic plan to include specific objectives.” These include mandating:

You’ll have to read the full story linked above for the rest of this. But let’s just say that the government’s idea of ‘voluntary’ is to dictate that if a hospital or doctor doesn’t comply with the EHR and/or HHS standards of care (meaning what they deem you need and not what you may really need) they may or may not get paid.

All this is supposedly going to save billions of dollars in healthcare costs and millions of lives (as IF no one will ever die again?). Sandy did another piece that shows just how such programs really don’t save anything or anyone:

Medical Homes and care coordination are tested

Older Americans who, understandably, have more chronic conditions of aging, are sadly also blamed for accounting for “disproportionately” large amounts of Medicare spending. It is sometimes thought that the increased services those suffering from chronic conditions require could be due to inadequate counseling on diet, medication, and self-care or not having ready access to medical care.

~snip~

So, in 2002, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) competitively awarded grants to 15 health care programs to study care coordination. It also contracted with Mathematica Policy Research Inc. to conduct an independent evaluation of the findings. Their conclusions were reported in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

~snip~

Findings

“None of the 15 programs generated net savings,” the authors found. “None of the programs reduced regular Medicare expenditures, even without the fees paid to the care coordination programs.” In fact, “for total Medicare expenditures including program fees, the treatment groups for 9 programs had 8% to 41% higher total expenditures than the control groups did, all statistically significant,” they said.

Read this FULL STORY here.

So this study found it actually increased costs rather then lowered them. The government in it’s intelligent way (and I use the word intelligent very loosely and sarcastically here) will go ahead and implement such plans anyway.

I don’t know about you, but this sure does look like ‘pork’ to me. I call THAT an ‘earmark’.

As I said when I started, “government oversight” is an oxymoron.

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~ by swfreedomlover on February 18, 2009.

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