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Home > Opinion-Editorials: 2002 and prior
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AFCM Reports: Health Care Quality Under Siege

October 20, 1999

AFCM's advertisements and brochure begin with the phrase, “The crisis in American health care is not one of quality.”

If a recent New York Times article (10/19) is true, this will soon change.

“In a break from three decades of Medicare policy, the Clinton Administration asked Congress Monday to steer Medicare patients to certain doctors and hospitals that offer discounts on the price of care they provide to people who are elderly or disabled.”

This is not a change in Clinton's policies, of course, but a return to the Hillary-care menace.

The legislation proposes a Federal list of preferred, "cut-rate" doctors and hospitals who offer discounted rates to the Government, while reducing the fees charged to patients.&#nbsp; Preferred providers will, naturally, have to see more patients than they already do, in order to maintain their current income levels.

According to the NYT:

“...[The] Administration was asking Congress for broad powers to pick and choose providers who would coordinate the care of Medicare patients who choose to participate in the special arrangement.

“The Government would designate hospitals across the country as centers of excellence and encourage Medicare patients to use them for high-cost procedures like heart surgery or hip replacement, provided the Government saved money.”

Clinton proposes hiring specialists to coordinate the care required by Medicare patients for conditions, ranging from coronary artery disease to diabetes, and the use of "competitive bidding" (with all the attendant political power of the government) to obtain discounts on medical equipment, goods and services.

The Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committees will consider these proposals this week, as they vote on how to restore money cut from Medicare in 1997.

The entire proposal amounts to a “volume discount” for health care--with everything that term normally implies: reduced time for patients to confer with their physicians, more standardized diagnosis and treatment procedures, and further government control over who is “qualified” to provide health care.  Health care providers will compete with each other on costs--to attract the government's business--even more than they do now, rather than compete with each other on quality--to attract a patient's patronage.  The further costs--financial and medical--are immeasurable.  Health care decisions will be further bureaucratized, and the cost of politicking and corruption that will occur with government officials making deals with health care providers is inestimable.

We have defeated such ideas before, and we can do so again.  It is time to start writing to your friends, newspapers, congressmen, and Senators again.  Protect your life, liberty, property--and your health care.

 

Copyright © 1999 Americans for Free Choice in Medicine. All rights reserved.
For reprint permission, contact AFCM.

 


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