Belmont Club

Sitting in judgment

Mark Steyn says the debate over healthcare is really a squabble over jurisdiction. “I think Sarah Palin’s “death panel” coinage clarified the stakes and resonated in a way that “rationing” and other lingo never quite did.”

What matters is the concept of a government “panel.” Right now, if I want a hip replacement, it’s between me and my doctor; the government does not have a seat at the table. The minute it does, my hip’s needs are subordinate to national hip policy, which in turn is subordinate to macro budgetary considerations. … You’re accepting that the state has jurisdiction over your hip, and your knee, and your prostate and everything else. And once you accept that proposition the fellows who get to make the “ruling” are, ultimately, a death panel.

But why stop there?

Why not bring other faceless people, bureaucrats or not, into the discussion? The Foxnation says that Obamacare will pay ‘Community Organizations’ to monitor your weight. But just who these “Community Organizations” are going to be is still shrouded in mystery.

The health care reform bill approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) would provide federal grants to state and local governments and a “national network of community-based organizations” to “promote healthy living and reduce disparities” and to monitor people’s weight, eating, exercise habits and other individual behaviors that affect health at the community level. The language instituting the program, entitled “Community Transformation Grants,” is on pages 382-387 of the bill as posted on the committee’s Web site.

The link to the PDF is here. On on the indicated pages it says some of the things the community organizations may be interested in monitoring are:

TYPES OF MEASURES.—In carrying out subparagraph (A), the eligible entity shall,with respect to residents in the community, measure—
(i) decreases in weight;
(ii) increases in proper nutrition;
(iii) increases in physical activity;
(iv) decreases in tobacco use prevalence;

What would be the point of collecting this information if it isn’t going to be used? Would the panels be interested in utilizing this data? Who are these eligible entities who will find the time to busy themselves with what you weigh, eat, do or smoke? CNS reports that they will be unspecified groups of private citizens receiving government money.  Their exact composition is yet to be determined.

“Neither the White House nor the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee responded to inquiries from about exactly what organzations would be eligible for the grants as a “national network of community-based organzations” and exactly how these community-based organizations would operate. …Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said that it is possible that the controversial group ACORN could qualify for the available grants. “I don’t believe so, but they could be,” Dodd told, in an earlier interview. “I just don’t want to say categorically it’s the case.”

It is yet one of the mysteries which people who attend Town Halls are eager to get answers to. Howard Dean remarked that the debate over health care reform “is over” and that the Town Halls are all about anger from people whose time is past. Maybe it is. But which side won and whose time is past? Maybe that’s yet to be determined also.

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