The 100 Hour Reign of Terror

  • by: |
  • 10/20/2006
Today's New York Times carries a story by Robert Pear on the Pelosi agenda for health care should the Democrats become the majority party in the House after the upcoming midterms. No surprise that top of the list "in the first 100 hours" would be an attempt to repeal the Medicare non-interference clause.

Those first 100 hours are beginning to sound like a real Reign of Terror for the American public health. Does anyone really believe that government can negotiate better than private industry -- for anything? One need only look at the VA system to see how government "negotiating" leads to restricted choice.

That fact, by the way, is not in the Times' story. Neither is the fact that the Part D program is HUGELY popular with American seniors.

Mr. Pear quotes Representative Pete Stark of California (who would be chairman of an important health subcommittee if Democrats were in the majority) as saying, "I don’t know that we could undo all the private plans. But at least we could offer a government-administered drug benefit."

Terrific! If the government thinks it can provide plans that offer as broad a range of choice as those presently available at lower costs, then I say have at it. But this does not require the non-interference clause to be repealed.

If the 100 hour Reign of Terror thinks to replace Part D with a VA-like plan, they will hear about it from the voters. Do they really think they can replace patient choice with price controls?

Here's something else to chew on -- I heard through the inimitable grapevine that Mr. Pear interviewed the executive director of a certain large disease organzation and asked what his biggest concern would be should the Democrats win a House majority. The executive director's answer was "the repeal of non-interference."

That didn't make it into the story either.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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