Dr. Steven West, president of the Florida Medical Association, notes that the economic stimulus bill contains a down payment on President Barack Obama’s plans for socialized medicine:

As Congress rushes its economic stimulus plan to the desk of President Obama, its grand vision of health reform has been secretly buried inside: rationing patient care and dispensing cookbook medicine.

That vision involves using large government bureaucracy and computer technology to tell patients what kind of care they can receive from their doctors. The congressional rationing plan will make doctors supplicants to big government and big insurance, rather than independent advocates for their patients. In the system that Congress envisions, the doctor serves the payer and not the patient.

Congress seeks $20 billion of spending on Health Information Technology (HIT) and more than $1.1 billion for Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER).

If Americans give government and insurance companies the power to pay for care, it should come as no surprise when these third parties try to determine what they will cover and what they deem to be minimum standards of care.

Scientific studies have shown that strict adherence to these best practices does not prolong patients’ lives or cure their illnesses. Worse, this committee medicine has had harmful side effects for patients. In this system, the report-card score is the most important, while patient outcomes, patient satisfaction with care and the value of medical care take a back seat.

To achieve excellence in medical care, doctors must have the flexibility to practice medicine based on the needs of each patient, not arbitrary payer formulas and thresholds. Government has displayed a dismal track record of protecting the integrity of important institutions such as our housing and banking systems.

We are not willing to blindly turn over increased control of our family’s health care to these same officials in Congress or the government.