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02/15 Obama, Healthcare, and the Lack of Debate

There were three news reports from Friday that I found VERY interesting. They all revolve around the Stimulus package that many expect to rejuvenate the economy. All are from CNSNews. You can claim bias all you want to…but the reports should be disturbing to everyone…

First, a Democrat says no one will have time to even read the Stimulus Bill before it has to be voted on.

The first PDF was 424 pages long and the second PDF was 575 pages long, making the total bill 999 pages long. The House is expected to vote on this 999-page bill Friday, and the Senate either later Friday or Saturday. [Editor’s note: The first PDF, as posted on the House Appropriations Committee website as of 8:20 AM Friday morning, had grown by 72 pages to 496 pages, increasing the length of the total document to 1,071 pages.]

If you had any illusions that there would be reasonable debate, discussion or even understanding of the whole thing, you were sadly mistaken.

Second, we now have a new government agency that will have possession and control of all medical records. This was slipped into the bill without debate. And, although Bloomberg News reported on this agency that will have a budget bigger than the US military, no one raised a fuss or demanded explanation. It’s amazing that the American people would scream and shout over the excesses of the Bush administration, without oversight, but say nothing of such an expensive agency.

And, that brings us to the third report. It seems that The Guardian is reporting the British centralized records system isn’t working like it should.

An NHS hospital boss criticised the new computerised medical records system today, saying it had cost his trust an extra £10m and meant fewer patients could be seen.

Andrew Way, chief executive of Hampstead’s Royal Free hospital, in north-west London, said his staff were “incredibly disappointed” with the IT upgrade on trial at the hospital since last summer.

The National Programme for IT (NPfIT) aims to create a centralised medical records system for 50 million patients in England at a cost of more than £12bn.

The article goes on to cite some very strong privacy concerns, since pharmacists would be able to see the entire record—not just doctors.

So, for everyone who thinks this is the best thing since sliced bread…maybe you should reconsider. Are the expected benefits of an agency that will have the authority, in the future if not now, to control healthcare access and spending really going to be worth it? Maybe taking subsidies away from drug manufacturers and no longer propping them up by restricting alternative medical means would accomplish more to reduce costs. Which, of course, begs the question since government subsidizes so much of healthcare technology and drug research…why are costs rising so sharply?

(…either way…government has near total control of medicine…I hope everyone is happy with it…)


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