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December 17, 2009

Tom Coburn: The Reid "Health Care" Bill Is Going To Kill A Lot Of People

It's scary because it's true.

My 25 years as a practicing physician have shown me what happens when government attempts to practice medicine: Doctors respond to government coercion instead of patient cues, and patients die prematurely. Even if the public option is eliminated from the bill, these onerous rationing provisions will remain intact.

For instance, the Reid bill (in sections 3403 and 2021) explicitly empowers Medicare to deny treatment based on cost. An Independent Medicare Advisory Board created by the bill—composed of permanent, unelected and, therefore, unaccountable members—will greatly expand the rationing practices that already occur in the program. Medicare, for example, has limited cancer patients' access to Epogen, a costly but vital drug that stimulates red blood cell production. It has limited the use of virtual, and safer, colonoscopies due to cost concerns. And Medicare refuses medical claims at twice the rate of the largest private insurers.

...Additionally, the Reid bill depends on the recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in no fewer than 14 places. This task force was responsible for advising women under 50 to not undergo annual mammograms. The administration claims the task force recommendations do not carry the force of law, but the Reid bill itself contradicts them in section 2713. The bill explicitly states, on page 17, that health insurance plans "shall provide coverage for" services approved by the task force. This chilling provision represents the government stepping between doctors and patients. When the government asserts the power to provide care, it also asserts the power to deny care.

Lots more in this piece, read it all if you have the courage.

Yes, critics will claim this is nothing but scare tactics. Well, if simply quoting from a bill scares people, maybe passing it isn't such a good plan. Crazy talk I know but there it is.

Meanwhile, liberal groups are pushing back against a bill they say doesn't go far enough but the reality is their bark is worse than their nonexistent bite. They are simply making noise for their supporters and raising a few bucks before falling in line. They know passage of this monstrosity is the first step, not the last.


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posted by DrewM. at 11:08 AM

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