Tags: Pelosi | healthcare | czar

Pelosi Plan Would Give Health Czar Super Powers

Friday, 30 Oct 2009 02:03 PM

By Ernest Istook

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Among the fallacies in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s healthcare bill is the pretense that bureaucrats are smarter than the rest of us.

An unelected bureaucrat would be given czar-like control over our lives, our health, and our pocketbooks. Even super powers.

This new all-powerful “health choices commissioner” would be entrusted with more power than most superheroes. The laundry list of that special power is proof that it’s a government takeover of healthcare.

This presidential appointee will both control the new government-run insurance plan AND decide how private insurance companies are to operate, by creating the standards for their coverage and enforcing compliance. Likewise, employer-run health plans would answer to super-czar.

In other words, this health czar will control both the government plan and all of its competition. So much for claims about a level playing field!

Rather than having Medicare dictate payment amounts to doctors and hospitals (as Pelosi originally intended), her new 1,990-page bill says the czar will “negotiate” rates. That will take an an awful lot of staff. America has 788,000 active doctors and 5,708 hospitals.

But that’s not all. The new czar would also:

  • Oversee the millions of Americans who would qualify for insurance subsidies

  • Audit the country’s 1,300-plus health insurers

  • Have power to collect whatever data the office deems necessary, which could involve review of medical records

  • Assess fines

  • Define our terms for us. This commissioner/czar would dictate all the definitions used in health insurance policies. After all, if you control the language, you control the debate.

  • Appoint a national health ombudsman to examine consumer complaints, but only in “a linguistically appropriate manner”

    As The Foundry pointed out about the earlier version of the House bill:

    “The House healthcare reform bill would establish a new entity called the Health Choices Administration, headed by a presidential appointee to be called the Health Choices Commissioner. Sounds wonderful, right? A government official whose only job is to make sure you have health care choices, right?

    “No. If you read the bill, . . . it turns out that the Health Choices Commissioner’s job is, essentially, to make your health choices for you.”

    The new super-bureaucrats may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. But they can put a lot of tall barriers between each of us and our doctors.

    Ernest Istook, a former U.S. congressman from Oklahoma, is a distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation. This article is cross posted from The Foundry.

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