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Hidden agendas of health care reform

A doctor prepares for surgery
A doctor prepares for surgery
Photo: AP/M. Spencer Green

Several people have asked why the health care reform bill is so important to me. There are many reasons, but on my mind most these days is the overwhelming feeling that lawmakers are using the fear of illness and death to push a hidden agenda.

It is indisputable that there are areas in health care that need reform, but this situation is not new. Not to dismiss anyone’s immediate needs, but the system as a whole does not need to be fixed yesterday. As we have seen with other government programs, entitlements in particular, once the train leaves the station it is very likely that it will not be returning. We MUST take the time to ensure that any reform bill that passes is as perfect as is possible, and that it does not result in more cost and less health.

The Affordable Health Care for America Act (AHCAA)  is loaded with new bureaucracies --118 to be exact. Most who have dealt with the IRS or the Social Security Administration would find it difficult to imagine that the creation of 118 new agencies is a good thing.

The bill mentions “reporting to Congress” more than 20 times. One of the primary reports will be the outcome of procedures and surgeries, which are required in order to assist in the government in the development of “endorsed clinical quality methods” and “best practices”. In other words, the goal is a system in which the government will recommend (if not require) certain procedures and treatment plans. In many cases, doctors will be paid less if they don’t follow these recommendations. This is contrary to what we have been told -- that the government will not be between Americans and their doctors.

In an article in the American Spectator, one of the concerns Peter Ferrara discusses is the use of  “medical homes” that will be implemented under AHCAA. This is a system in which Medicare participating doctors will be paid a flat monthly fee for patient’s care, with additional costs such as tests or specialists to be paid from that flat fee. This will undoubtedly provide an incentive for doctors to minimize such care.

These are but a few examples of the government intrusion into our lives and control of our health care that AHCAA mandates. To people who currently have no insurance, this may be a price worth paying. To the 80% of Americans who have insurance and are happy with it, it is mind-boggling that such a tremendously complex system is being promoted. In fact, it seems that the objective is to make it so confusing that most people give up trying to understand it and just succumb to its inevitability. That part of the hidden agenda is very motivational. We must be sure we understand the product being thrust upon us.

The Wall Street Journal quotes Obama supporter John Cassidy, of the New Yorker magazine, who said it best. "Let's not pretend that it isn't a big deal, or that it will be self-financing, or that it will work out exactly as planned. It won't. What is really unfolding, I suspect, is the scenario that many conservatives feared. The Obama Administration . . . is creating a new entitlement program, which, once established, will be virtually impossible to rescind."

If passed, AHCAA will result in a dependence on the government like we have never known, whether we want it or not. That is the ultimate hidden agenda of health care reform, and should motivate us all to make our voices heard.