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9th February
2009
written by Sean Noble

The Senate has passed the cloture motion, thus ending the debate on the stimulus bill, which will pass the Senate tomorrow.

 

It will be interesting to see if there are any changes in the vote for cloture and final passage.

This whole debate has been surreal.  You know a bill is pretty bad when liberal Republican Senator, Chuck Grassley (R-IA), is arguing vigorously against it.  Amazing.

 

How bad is this bill?  Most independent economic observers (including a Congressional Budget Office analysis) predict that the jobs created by the bill will be temporary, cost upwards of $300,000 per job to create, and that in the long term, there will be fewer jobs than if we didn’t pass any stimulus.  Truly, change we can believe in.

 

The scary parts of this bill include something that both Congressman John Shadegg and Senator Tom Coburn have been yelling (in the wind, as it turns out) about.  John Shadegg pointed out two particularly scary provisions:

 

  • Nearly $100 billion dollars to expand the Medicaid program including providing health care to higher income individuals.  House Democrats rejected an amendment to restrict millionaires from enrolling in a government-run health care program meant for the poor.
  • $1.1 billion to “research” which treatments the federal government will eventually deny to patients. 

 

Then, Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York, and one of the leading critics to Hillary-care back in 1993 wrote this:

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.

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.

The stimulus bill will affect every part of health care, from medical and nursing education, to how patients are treated and how much hospitals get paid. The bill allocates more funding for this bureaucracy than for the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force combined (90-92, 174-177, 181).

Hiding health legislation in a stimulus bill is intentional. Daschle supported the Clinton administration’s health-care overhaul in 1994, and attributed its failure to debate and delay. A year ago, Daschle wrote that the next president should act quickly before critics mount an opposition. “If that means attaching a health-care plan to the federal budget, so be it,” he said. “The issue is too important to be stalled by Senate protocol.”

Unfortunately, this monstrosity is going to pass tomorrow, and it will put us a few more miles down “the road to serfdom.”

 

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3 Comments

  1. 09/02/2009

    Man, I missed Shadegg yellin’. Great post BTW. -Gayle

  2. AzRep
    09/02/2009

    Good post Sean. Why are there 16 comments from the same person?

  3. Sean Noble
    09/02/2009

    Great question… obviously it was a spammer… those comments are gone now! Thanks.

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