Republicans' claim that stimulus law lets government tell physicians what procedures can and can't be performed is wrong
Feb 20, 2009 at 12:00 AM
FactCheck.org is reporting that Republican politicians have claimed that the stimulus bill requires that doctors follow government orders on what medical treatments can and can't be prescribed. But the bill doesn't say that. - Rep. Tom Price of Georgia says the measure creates "a national health care rationing board." Not true. What it creates is a council to coordinate research into which treatments work best, and are most effective for the money. And in fact, the new law states quite specifically that the council has no power to "mandate coverage" and that its recommendations are not to be construed as "clinical guidelines for ... treatment." - Betsy McCaughey, a Republican former lieutenant governor of New York, claims that the bill creates a "new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology." Not true. The office was created in 2004 by President Bush. McCaughey also says the office "will monitor treatments" and " 'guide' your doctor's decisions." But that's nothing new. Bush's initiative called for creating a health IT system to transmit information to "guide medical decisions."Critics of comparative effectiveness research, which the government has been funding for decades, claim that it will lead to treatment being approved or denied based on costs. Proponents say it will improve the quality of care and can, in some cases, show that more costly treatments aren't as effective as less expensive alternatives.FactCheck says it can't predict what will happen in the future, but its editors say that several claims being made about the impact of the bill are simply opinions being passed off as facts.