Sunday, August 16, 2009

Senator Coburn Should Read His Own Bill

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) is the primary sponsor of the Patients' Choice Act, and he was on Meet the Press this morning discussing health care reform. This is a 5 minute tape, but he speaks from about 2min to 4min. Around 3:15 in he reiterates a claim that the Democrat bills 'will kill people' and then he then slams comparative effectiveness research and says that it will help 70% of patients and hurt 30%. Presumably, the application of such an approach is how Democratic bills will kill people.

Trouble is, pages 206-215 of his own bill, The Patients' Choice Act, includes detailed language setting up a federal board to comprehensively apply comparative effectiveness. The two boards, a Health Services Commission, and a Forum for Quality and Effectiveness in Health Care, that is designed to make use of cost effectiveness, develop guidelines to improve appropriatentess and quality of care and to reduce costs, and sets out penalties for providers who do not follow the guidelines developed, including banning them from billing federal health insurance (Medicare, Medicaid) and/or civil fines.

I think such panels, filled with experts from outside the government, and using the best research, are the best hope for slowing Medicare cost growth, as I have said. I have noted this as a potential point of compromise between the President and the Republicans. However, I also think this performance by Sen. Coburn on Meet the Press today is one of the most cynical and dishonest things I have seen said in the reform debate (and there are lots of candidates). He must have liked such an approach at one point...but it is really an embarrassment for him to slam something in someone elses bill that he has in his own.

Here is a link to the Thomas version of the Patients' Choice Act, S1099. It is the same bill as HR 2520 introduced into the house and which is linked here with guidance to relevant sections of the bill. The house version text is easier to navigate around...if you want to use the senate version relevant sections are sec. 801-823 of title VIII of the bill.

1 comment:

  1. More dishonesty! Yay for ignorance and misinformation among the elected: