Healthcare Danger Hidden in Stimulus

Americans are up in arms, decrying wasteful spending in the so-called stimulus bill. They should be. But one of the bill’s worst provisions has gone almost unnoticed, dangerously lurking below the radar of those exposing the bill’s flaws.

“Comparative Effectiveness Research,” sounds innocuous, but big-government programs always do. The $1.1 billion of the stimulus package earmarked for this project is a significant step toward government-run healthcare. Comparative effectiveness research is a tool for bureaucrats to decide which medical treatments Americans should or should not have access to.

In countries with government-run healthcare systems, comparative effectiveness is often used as an excuse to deny patients life-saving medical care on the grounds of cost-effectiveness. The healthcare board of the United Kingdom has repeatedly denied breakthrough drugs to citizens suffering with breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, and even multiple sclerosis on the grounds of comparative effectiveness. The British government has stripped citizens of the freedom to choose their own healthcare. Congressman David Obey, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, has already admitted as much. Just read his own words from the committee report on the stimulus, talking about this provision: “Those items, procedures, and interventions… that are found to be less effective and in some cases, more expensive, will no longer be prescribed.” We must not allow it.

Comparative effectiveness “research” presents a danger to freedom of healthcare choice in America. And if the potential consequences of the study alone don’t scare you, recall President Obama’s failed nominee to oversee the Department of Health and Social Services. In his own book, Critical, Daschle talks about his desire to create a federal planning board to make Americans’ healthcare decisions. While Americans may have dodged a bullet with Daschle, the fight against government-run healthcare is only beginning.

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