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It’s a Health Care Overhaul, Not Health Care Reform

Republicans need to insist on redefining the semantics of the current debate, and refuse to accept Obama's disingenuous language.

by
Melissa Clouthier

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August 16, 2009 - 12:00 am
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Because “government-run health care” — both the phrase and the actuality of the idea — go over like a lead balloon with the American people, the Democrats have chosen new language hoping to obscure their intent to remake the health care system. The new language key word: “reform.”

Reform is a good word. It sounds like making something that’s okay a lot better. You know, get rid of the bad stuff, add some good. Unfortunately, the changes in the system are not reforms which suggest refinements. Rather they’re wholesale changes that will remake the very fabric of American society should they be implemented.

Just as an example, John David Lewis, a college professor read the bill and came up with some questions, the answers from the bill, and the implications. Here is one such example [the link is a goldmine for pulling important passages of the bill and explaining them]:

1. WILL THE PLAN RATION MEDICAL CARE?

This is what the bill says, pages 284-288, SEC. 1151. REDUCING POTENTIALLY PREVENTABLE HOSPITAL READMISSIONS:

‘(ii) EXCLUSION OF CERTAIN READMISSIONS.—For purposes of clause (i), with respect to a hospital, excess readmissions shall not include readmissions for an applicable condition for which there are fewer than a minimum number (as determined by the Secretary) of discharges for such applicable condition for the applicable period and such hospital.

and, under “Definitions”:

‘‘(A) APPLICABLE CONDITION.—The term ‘applicable condition’ means, subject to subparagraph (B), a condition or procedure selected by the Secretary …

and:

‘‘(E) READMISSION. — The term ‘readmission’ means, in the case of an individual who is discharged from an applicable hospital, the admission of the individual to the same or another applicable hospital within a time period specified by the Secretary from the date of such discharge.

and:

‘‘(6) LIMITATIONS ON REVIEW.—There shall be no administrative or judicial review under section 1869, section 1878, or otherwise of—  …

‘‘(C) the measures of readmissions …

EVALUATION OF THE PASSAGES:

1. This section amends the Social Security Act

2. The government has the power to determine what constitutes an “applicable [medical] condition.”

3. The government has the power to determine who is allowed readmission into a hospital.

4. This determination will be made by statistics: when enough people have been discharged for the same condition, an individual may be readmitted.

5. This is government rationing, pure, simple, and straight up.

6. There can be no judicial review of decisions made here. The Secretary is above the courts.

7. The plan also allows the government to prohibit hospitals from expanding without federal permission: page 317-318.

What is described in the bill here is not simply a reform. The tax code, legal system, hospitals, insurance companies, doctors, and the patient experience are radically changed. Radical change does not suggest reform. It suggests transformation.

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