The democrat Porkulus is bad enough viewed simply as a colossal waste of money and burden on the productive portion of the economy, but additionally the many-hundred-page package (passed unread by the nation’s Solons) contains some deviously crafted provisions constituting a very large step toward federal takeover of American health care, as William Winkenwerder, Jr. and Grace-Marie Turner at National Review’s the Corner explain.
The health-related provisions take a sharp turn toward greater government control over our health sector, without any hearings or serious debate in Congress and without telling the American people what the changes would mean for their personal health care. This is the biggest land grab in the health sector ever attempted by the federal government, and it would be a major step toward thrusting full responsibility for health-care financing onto the American taxpayerâ€”today and for decades to come.
For starters, the bill would create a 15-member federal health board, composed entirely of federal employees appointed by the president, charged with running â€œcomparative effectivenessâ€ research to assess which drugs and other medical treatments are most effective. The boardâ€™s decisions would determine what medical treatments the federal government would or would not pay for. The treatments some patients desperately need might not be on the list. House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D., Wis.) explained that drugs and treatments â€œthat are found to be less effective and in some cases, more expensive, will no longer be prescribed.â€
The bill would also establish a $400 million slush fund, which the secretary of health and human services would use to give government, not doctors and patients, more control over health-care decisions.
There will be a substantial burden on employers: The bill would impose a back-door mandate for them to continue providing health insurance to workers long after those workers have left. PricewaterhouseCoopers says the ten-year cost of this provision would be up to $65 billion just for those workers currently eligible for COBRA (the current program through which people can participate in ex-employersâ€™ health plans). The estimated costs would be even higher if many more workers retire early, as they likely will if they know they can continue their employment-based coverage indefinitely.