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  • Advisory Health Panels Good, Obama's Super MedPac Bad

    The Washington Post reports:

    Women in their 40s should stop routinely having annual mammograms and older women should cut back to one scheduled exam every other year, an influential federal task force has concluded, challenging the use of one of the most common medical tests.

    “We’re not saying women shouldn’t get screened. Screening does saves lives,” said Diana B. Petitti, vice chairman of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which released the recommendations Monday in a paper being published in Tuesday’s Annals of Internal Medicine. “But we are recommending against routine screening. There are important and serious negatives or harms that need to be considered carefully.”

    It’s one thing to have a task force issue a recommendation that people and groups can adopt or not adopt (and there are strongly held views on both sides of the screening-at-40 issue), but quite another if some task force can just change what is or is not available in most plans – which is exactly what would happen if President Barack Obama’s Super MedPAC proposal became law. Heritage Vice President for Domestic and Economic Policy Studies Stuart Butler explained this summer:

    It appears the Senate Finance Committee may propose that the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC)–a board of health analysts drawn from universities, think tanks, and health care bodies–should have a key role in achieving health savings. MedPAC currently makes recommendations to Congress on broad aspects of Medicare, but Congress has no obligation to enact or even consider its proposals.

    But rather than recast MedPAC as an advisory body with clout (whose recommendations would have to be considered for an expedited up-or-down vote, perhaps with other competing proposals, and implemented only if agreed to), it appears that the committee may enact a procedure whereby MedPAC’s recommendations would go into affect unless both houses of Congress block them.

    This powerful default implementation for the decisions by an appointed board should be unacceptable to lawmakers and Americans. Like other efforts to insinuate an unelected and largely independent health board into the health system, these decisions, in practice, could easily go well beyond mere technical adjustments in payments and result in board control of medical practice, contrary to the intent of the original Medicare law. The relationship between doctor and patient should not be compromised or undermined by a distant board, council, or panel. If Congress gives serious consideration to a commission to develop proposals for savings, the mechanism should be expedited review of its recommendations, not the implementation of those recommendations by default.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    16 Responses to Advisory Health Panels Good, Obama's Super MedPac Bad

    1. Bobbie Jay says:

      Nor should the privacy of the patients health be compromised or undermining FROM OR BY ANYONE! Government run health care is unacceptable to AMERICANS. This isn't what was PROMISED MR. PRESIDENT!


    2. Bobbie Jay says:

      oops, sorry. correction, 1st line: "patience"

    3. J. Thompson, Virgini says:

      How much of a decrease (dollar and percentage)in projected Medicare costs is called for in the Senate and Congressional versions to meet the alleged savings to the deficit? How is the "doctor fix" considered (or not)? Does anyone believe that this will not require cutting services?

    4. Tim Az says:

      We’re not saying women shouldn’t get screened. Screening does saves lives,” said Diana B. Petitti, vice chairman of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force,

      I believe what Petitti is trying to say without offending anyone is that we should be very careful about who's lives we save. Obviously we would'nt want to save someone who embraces individuality or freedom.

      Another helping of hope and change anyone?

    5. Mary,Cleveland, OH says:

      I believe this is a form of rationing. Just six months ago this same committee endorsed women 40+ to get yearly mammograms. And now, they have just changed thier recommendations? I find this disturbing.

    6. Bill Sr. Jacksonvill says:

      The Republicans had best get themselves out in front of the cameras and shout from the bowels of the "crapitol" that we don't want any part of any government health care plan until the mess and corruption in Medicare and Medicaid and all the other entitlement programs are cleaned up.

      The taxpayers are fed up and will have no more of creating more bureaucrats to mismanage more "social services" for people who have come to believe the government should be the sole provider for all their needs. Are we nuts or what?

      We even have the government funding organizations set up to sue taxpayers if they don't comply with regulations the government has arbitrarily imposed on them. Yes, it's really that bad.

      Obama and his Marxist advisors seem intent on conducting an economic "holocaust" in America in order to cleans us of the cancer of capitolism. We won't let it happen!

    7. Pingback: A Step Backward in the Fight Against Breast Cancer. « American Elephants

    8. Freedom of Speech, T says:


      Please put the people of the United States before, only, your constituents when you vote on Saturday night. If you move this mess forward, you will ensure the American taxpayer gets raped because something unaffordable will come of this.

      You know the Senate version of the bill is deeply flawed. The actual long term cost estimates are disingenous. This is why the “Doc Fix” with its 200+ billion price tage was put under separate legislation. CBO estimates are ALWAYS way off. The actual startup costs is trillions and you know it. How can you even consider this in light of the stimulus debacle?

      The House Leader cut deals about abortion to entice members to help her barely pass that piece of junk. Now, we fear the Senate is about to play the same game. Senators stand strong and do not vote this bill out of clocture. There is no way you even KNOW what is in this bill so how can you move it forward? Do not be bribed or bought off with concessions in the form of the American taxpayers’ money! Your honor should count for something. America’s future should count for even more. No true American would disagree.

      The majority of the American people do not want this bill passed. That should say it all. This is your chance to represent us and not your personal desires. Let this ugly mess die.

      Start over on a bipartisian path that Pelosi should have done in the first place and set egos aside.

      You KNOW the real long-term cost of this bill cannot be sustained. You KNOW this. Doing nothing is sometimes better than doing the wrong thing. Start over! Reform health care for all; don’t destroy health care for the majority of the American people.


      I am 70yrs old and if i'm lucky (God willing) I will have maybe 10 or 15 more years left on this earth we need MEDICARE.I live on SS & don't have the money to buy groceries or gas for my auto after I pay for the high cost of electricity,gas,water and anything else necessary in this day and age.I have tried to make it but have failed miserably.I have no children of my own,but I have nieces and nephews who will be in the same boat (probably worse) than I am.I paid into MEDICARE FOR 40+ yrs my Father paid in and died at age 64,left my Mother with only SS to live on,she did exactly as I am doing sell my home and find someplace to live I can afford.Now that ain't easy.AMERICA has been faithful to its citizens aslong as I can remember,PLEASE DO NOT STOP NOW. Leave the HEALTH CARE alone.We are not stupid people running around, we supported the government since the beginning of America.Start making your cuts at the TOP and not the bottom.

    10. peggy/Pa--------www. says:

      MedPAC moving from control of Congress, to where the president both appoints and also controls the board, is just the third part in the radicalization of his new Healthcare Delivery System. Your article was on point, but missed the first two parts of this healthcare delivery system.

      Part one is the the utilization of the Dartmouth Atlas study, which is a medical study dividing the country by geographic areas. This study focuses specifically on the rate of Medicare reinbursements hospitals in each area use, using hospitals in those geographic areas that use less reinbursements, as examples of providing quality care, in contrast to those who do not use less.

      If you type in their e-mail address, and then scroll down to where their " white paper " is located, which is labeled as giving advice to the Congress and Obama on cutting Healthcare costs, you will find many of their suggestions in several of the House bills. Obama is using it as his blueprint, and the basis of his healthcare philosophy.

      For example, although the head of the A.M.A. endorsed the House Bill, he said he was concerned that it provided grants to hospitals to train primary doctors, but not specialists, such as surgeons which are sorely needed. The Dartmouth Atlas specifically instructs Congress not to provide grants for specialists in their " white paper."

      Their main premise in this medical study, is it is simply the abundance and availability of medical resources, and the influence of greedy doctors who prod their patients to avail themselves of these resouces, that inflates healthcare costs.

      They blame specialists for being responsible for driving up these Medicare costs from filling hospital beds, to nursing home and hospice admissions. They also rail against teaching hospitals, pacemakers, several medical screening tests, hip and knee replacements, MRI's, and expensive cancer drugs, all of which they claim drive up costs.

      This study has been challenged by Harvard researchers, because this Atlas used methods that were off by 30% to 50% when they determined the economic mean of patients by using zip codes, instead of the more reliable method of blocks and tracks, which target a smaller area of 1,000 to 4,000 people. Therefore their geographic Atlas of whether some hospitals were inadequate in providing quality care at reasonable cost, because they used more Medicare reinbursement funds, than the so- called good hospitals which did the opposite, was intrinsically flawed.

      We ironically have a false study providing the basis for rationing of American healthcare. This study has stated that even if we add 50 million more of the insured, we do not need any additional doctors, and I will quote them, " All will have healthcare, just all will have less."

      Part 2 of this delivery system will include

      the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which is under the auspices of the Depatment of Health, Comparative Effectiveness Research, and the U.S.Preventive Services Task Force, which can have their appointees chosen by Obama from the pool that endorse the Darthmouth Atlas.

      Major groups of patients will be grouped according to age, race, ethnic background, and socio-economic history, and broad treatment plans will be created for those groups. Your doctor will get bonuses for pushing the assigned treatment plan for you, and if he does not, he will be fined and eliminated from serving Medicare and Medicaid patients. These treatment plans developed by Comparative Effective Research will become law, if the Healthcare Bill becomes law .

      As you said, the third step is moving MedPAC away from Congress, who will not have the stomach to promote rationing. One thing you did not mention is Rahm Emanuel, Obama's chief of staff, has a bother, Dr. Esquiel Emanuel, who is the Director of the National Institute of Health, and he has stated that he was looking for an agency like the Fed, that would ensure that directives from Comparative Effectiveness would be protected from partisan influence over the long term.

      Thank you, for pointing out how he has accomplished this goal. God help us all, as we have lost a great deal in this economy. It appears now, that even healthcare, as we have known it, will be lost forever.

    11. Pingback: Morning Bell: The Obamacare Rationing Threat To Your Mammograms | Fix Health Care Policy

    12. Rose Barnes, TAcoma, says:

      What is Obama trying to do??? Eradicate the female population in the US??? Maybe he doesn't know that breast cancer is one of the leading diseases that kill us.

    13. Pingback: The Obamacare Rationing Threat To Your Mammograms « Conservative Thoughts and Profundity

    14. Donna Cooper, AZ says:

      I thinkkthat all Goverment Officials should go on Welfare Medical to see what it is like for Obamacare. You know that6 they will not have the same medical as every one else.

    15. Pingback: Morning Bell: The Obamacare Rationing Threat To Your Mammograms | Conservative Principles Now

    16. Pingback: The Cloakroom » Health Care Must Reads

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