Will new health records requirements hurt seniors' health care?

Wednesday - 2/18/2009, 12:56pm EST

Betsy McCaughey

New offices created by the stimulus package are being challenged.

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By Andrew Mitchell
Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

The stimulus package will create new bureaucracies that will lead to health care rationing for the nation's seniors.

So says the former lieutenant-governor of New York, Dr. Betsy McCaughey, who is now an adjunct senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

In an interview with Tom Temin and Jane Norris on Wednesday's Federal Drive, McCaughey said the legislation mandates the creation of the office of National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, which will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective.

McCaughey says the stimulus bill also creates the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research, which will apply new cost-effectiveness standards to Medicare.

According to McCaughey, seniors will be disproportionately affected by the new guidelines, since Medicare reimbursements will now be evaluated according to the QALY method, which gauges a therapy's cost-effectiveness by the number of years a patient is expected to benefit from it.

"I don't think Americans are ready for this," said McCaughey. "I'm certainly not ready to tell seniors that they're too old to benefit from certain treatments, because our seniors are living longer and having... many, many more years of vital life ahead."

McCaughey is calling for the cost-effectiveness provisions to be stricken from the new law. She says legislators were rushed into approving the president's stimulus package without knowing exactly what was in it. She would then like the stricken provisions to be debated as part of a separate bill.

"All we're asking for is transparency," said McCaughey. "People on all sides of the political spectrum should be able to agree on that."

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On the Web:

Hudson Institute - McCaughey bio

Bloomberg.com Opinion - Ruin Your Health With the Obama Stimulus Plan: Betsy McCaughey

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