Old People Will Not Be Stimulated

It looks like the Obama administration has found the perfect cure for our medical crisis and our Social Security crisis. Kill off old people.

Republican Senators are questioning whether President Barack Obama's stimulus bill contains the right mix of tax breaks and cash infusions to jump-start the economy.

Tragically, no one from either party is objecting to the health provisions slipped in without discussion. These provisions reflect the handiwork of Tom Daschle, until recently the nominee to head the Health and Human Services Department.

Senators should read these provisions and vote against them because they are dangerous to your health. (Page numbers refer to H.R. 1 EH, pdf version).

The bill's health rules will affect "every individual in the United States" (445, 454, 479). Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system. Having electronic medical records at your fingertips, easily transferred to a hospital, is beneficial. It will help avoid duplicate tests and errors.

But the bill goes further. 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."

They have taken another big step (and a rather large one at that) towards further nationalization of health care.

Think about the Department of Motor Vehicles dealing with your next medical emergency. And who are the targets of all this wonderful goodness where your relationship to your doctor is replaced with your relationship to your government? The expendables. The old people. And if you consider bang for the medical buck in time old will come to mean any one over 40.

Daschle says health-care reform "will not be pain free." Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt.

Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost- effectiveness standard set by the Federal Council (464).

The Federal Council is modeled after a U.K. board discussed in Daschle's book. This board approves or rejects treatments using a formula that divides the cost of the treatment by the number of years the patient is likely to benefit. Treatments for younger patients are more often approved than treatments for diseases that affect the elderly, such as osteoporosis.

In 2006, a U.K. health board decreed that elderly patients with macular degeneration had to wait until they went blind in one eye before they could get a costly new drug to save the other eye. It took almost three years of public protests before the board reversed its decision.

If the Obama administration's economic stimulus bill passes the Senate in its current form, seniors in the U.S. will face similar rationing. Defenders of the system say that individuals benefit in younger years and sacrifice later.

OK. But are we being given a choice here? Suppose some people want to sacrifice in their younger years for their later years? What if longer life actually has value to some people?

The Democrats have come down hard with the socialist disease. We are no longer people. We are now "the masses". A herd. To be tended and sheared. Old cows no longer producing milk in sufficient quantities will be put out to a very small pasture with a lot of other cows.

H/T gblaze42 Talk Polywell

Cross Posted at Power and Control

posted by Simon on 02.10.09 at 06:21 PM


Like I have always said it is better to be rich and healthy rather than poor and sick, but now only rich and healthy will see old age,

Hugh   ·  February 10, 2009 7:32 PM

Welcome to the Monkey House.

brian   ·  February 10, 2009 8:17 PM

OK—I'm convinced. Let's just get the government out of paying for health care altogether. That way only the rich and healthy will see old age. Oh, wait. Not what we wanted, apparently. OK. How about this—we just pony up $$$$ thru taxes but don't ration by likely outcome? That way we can probably ensure the long-term survival of the chronically afflicted. And with no bureaucracy sticking its nose in, we can be sure that no treatment, no matter how expensive, no matter how minimal or short-term the benefit, will be denied. And thus we can be sure that the poor and sickly will get most of the funds available—for as long as necessary. But at least the rich and healthy will have the company of their cohort on the verandah.

italtrav   ·  February 10, 2009 8:39 PM

No matter what - the poor are going to have a harder time than the rich.

To a very great extent we are living off the capital (the electric grid for instance) paid for by the sweat of our forbears in the early 1900s. That took trillions when trillions were not so easy to come by.

So let us see: no matter what the poor get screwed. Will the system improve more rapidly under government control or will it work better if individuals get to make their own decisions?

M. Simon   ·  February 10, 2009 8:49 PM

"Will the system improve more rapidly under government control or will it work better if individuals get to make their own decisions?"

Stated like this, neither. Universal; Affordable; Free-market: choose two.

italtrav   ·  February 10, 2009 9:54 PM

italrav, who put YOU in charge of acting like God? Or is the "we" not imperial and the sarcasm is on behalf of all the control freaks you represent?
I don't really think the 52% of people who elected Obama thought they were buying a government of stealth where the framework of socialized medicine would be slipped to them like a suppository.

In the peoples state of Italy you are placed on a waiting list for heart bypass ops. I have a 40 something year old friend there who waited almost 6 months. He was placed on heart meds, and since he didn't die, I guess the wait was OK by your standards of rationing.
Here, you have chest pains in the ER, and they're already prepping you for the bypass.

But what this all boils down to is putting someone other than a doctor in charge of making life and death decisions about your health. It will once and for all replace the person who actually saves lives with a government lackey.

Frank   ·  February 10, 2009 10:08 PM

Let me put this as bluntly as I can.

"We're sorry Mr. Italtrav, but your son's leukemia is going to cost more to treat than our actuarial tables say he's likely to be worth. We're just going to let him die."

Universal health-care is neither.

brian   ·  February 10, 2009 10:26 PM

Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them.

Translation: Hurry up and die, Grandma!

physics geek   ·  February 10, 2009 11:35 PM

This is an interesting discussion. First let me say that I am in no way shape or form a supporter of nationalized healthcare, BUT, we would be just silly not to notice that anyone in our country over the age of sixty five wasn't already covered by the equivalent that we now call Medicare which is nearly totally footed by you, me and of course our government with a big G.

I don't hear anyone suggesting that we get rid of Medicare. Do you? Eventually we should work on moving the age of coverage well beyond 65, but until we get there...that is the "magic age".

Simultaneous to an ever increasing load of us baby boomers hitting that "magic age", we have science and technology improving in leaps and bounds. Just because it is now possible to do full body scans on humans, does that mean that we should bear the expense of doing so for everyone over age 65, as an example? Most of us have received notices in the mail of some place near us where we can get such scans for "X" dollars, yet so few of us do that. Why? As best I recall, the price was MORE than reasonable to know all they said you might know about your health, yet, I didn't have any interest in having this test done. What if that notice came to your house and said FREE BODY SCANS. Would you have gone then? I suspect many more of us would have.

Just keeping with the single example of body scans for a little while longer. The last I read about this, it was NOT recommended because of the number of "false positives" shall we say? Results that resulted in many more tests to follow, only to find out...hey...nothing THAT serious after all. BUT THE DOLLARS SPENT to find that out? Oh my!

We need to be practical here. Even if nationalized healthcare NEVER goes beyond where it is right this minute, we need some failsafes for separating current and all future available testing and treatments from the reasonableness for doing so....JUST BECAUSE IT IS NOW POSSIBLE.

It has always been amazing to me the choices people make for their OWN healthcare when they have to pay for even just 20 percent of it in most cases, but in some cases 100 percent for OBVIOUS positive personal outcomes. Yet still people THINK..."Oh, can't do that or get that because it isn't covered by my medical insurance."

Americans have slowly but surely come to think about healthcare in terms of "covered expense" or not. We have "socialized" medicine in our OWN minds already!

I don't think this particular legislation has to do with preventing anyone from PAYING for whatever. It might even give us all more reason to save well into our golden years. A bad thing? I am not so sure it is.

Penny   ·  February 11, 2009 12:30 AM

Penny - you are more optimistic than I am. Right now, a suit is making its way through the court system, challenging some bureaucrat's dictum that a senior must accept the terms and conditions of Medicare in order to collect Social Security. This was a final bouquet from the Clinton administration. If you accept the T&C of Medicare, then any doctor who treats you must submit to them also. You can't pay for any treatment not on the schedule and the doctor can't offer it. This is a blatantly illegal and coercive rule, but it will take more years to reverse it. This sort of shenanigans is a harbinger of things to come. Those who voted for The One are going to get whats coming to them, good and hard. Too bad it affects the rest of us too.

chuckR   ·  February 11, 2009 9:27 AM

physics geek makes a good point -- we already have gov't health care for the elderly -- and that health care is rationed.

What nationalization will mean is that EVERYONE's health care is rationed.

Something that is generally missed in the health care debate is that socialist systems are much, much, much more likely to refuse treatment for marginal cases. This is not only because of the rationing, but also because if you treat someone and they die, that affects your statistics.

This is why socialist health care countries, esp. in Europe, claim to have "better outcomes" than the U.S. system -- they don't treat the marginal cases we do. This affects the statistics for everything from cancer treatment to infant mortality (it's very common in Europe for troubled pregnancies to be aborted by the physician, sometimes without even informing the parents there are other options).

Talldave   ·  February 11, 2009 9:37 AM


It is worse than you think. For oldsters declining Medicare is not an option.

M. Simon   ·  February 11, 2009 1:32 PM

Just to be clear, Physics Geek and Penny pretty much made my points for me. And the question is precisely whether or not we're going to let the kid with leukemia die. [Cf. Tiny Tim's crutches by the fire or the Good Old Days of dramas like "I Remember Mama" and the hopes that the family will manage to save up for the operation before Grandma dies or permanently loses her sight ...]
I'm sorry to say that Newsweek (Time?) appears to be in some basic fashion correct—we're all now socialists to one degree or another. We already DO have rationed, nationalised health care. The only serious question is how, and on what principles, we go forward.

italtrav   ·  February 12, 2009 9:29 AM

Why does the wide availability of scans cause such despair? The profiteering has been done only by elite "non-profits." The market is at work and, left alone, will produce this technology more and more cheaply.

You ask a snide question, I'll match the anwer to your tone: WalMart Medical Clinic. That's the model. I trust them as much as Saint Pankratz Community Health Maintenance Ctr Inc. and you don't have to be a Party member to get an appointment.

I have driven over into the future, and it works. Socialism can be treated now, you know. It's curable. There's hope.

comatus   ·  February 14, 2009 2:29 AM

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