NEW YORK, Feb. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- There has been enormous public controversy over the piece published on bloomberg.com (2/9/09) regarding health provisions in the President's stimulus bill. Betsy McCaughey, Ph.D. states:
1) While it is true that the office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology was created by former President Bush, that office provided a small advisory service for doctors and hospitals that voluntarily adopted electronic medical records. The stimulus bill transforms that small office into a vast bureaucracy with coercive powers that affect "every individual in the U.S."
2) Shame on the AARP for not recognizing the devastating impact of the Federal Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research, as proposed in the House bill (H.R.1.EH), on Medicare-eligible Americans. Fortunately, the Senate has now amended the measure of comparative effectiveness, removing cost effectiveness and replacing it only with clinical effectiveness. This eliminates a substantial threat to seniors. I applaud the Senate's change and urge the House to conform its legislation.
3) The major objections to the health provisions in the bill remain unanswered by critics. The provisions do not belong in a bill intended to jumpstart the economy. The sleight of hand proposed by Tom Daschle (pg. 196 of his book) to attach the broad outlines of healthcare change to a budget bill is undemocratic and deplorable. The Obama administration promised transparency. This is just the opposite. Americans deserve an open and honest debate about creating a federal healthcare infrastructure of this magnitude. These health provisions should be removed from the stimulus bill and offered to Congress in separate legislation.
Betsy McCaughey, Ph.D., is former Lt. Governor of New York State and Adjunct Fellow at the Hudson Institute, as well as Chairman/Founder of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths, an independent, non-profit patient advocacy organization.
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