Comment: The article below comes from a right-wing site. What is the agenda here?

Barack Obama has called for giving an unaccountable "death panel" board even more authority to regulate health care for individuals.

While health care legislation was being debated, critics, including Sarah Palin, warned the law would create "death panels", deciding which elderly would live and which would die. Following her statements, Palin was verbally crucified in the media.

The 2000 page health care bill calls for the establishment of over 150 boards and commissions to administer the program. One of these, the Independent Payment Advisory Board is tasked with overseeing health care costs. The board is tasked with specific target growth rates and is to ensure Medicaid costs stay within these limits.

In a recent speech on fiscal policy at George Washington University criticizing the budget plan by Rep. Paul Ryan, Obama said his plan for cutting health care costs was to provide more power to the IPAB to cut costs.

"We will change the way we pay for health care - - not by the procedure or the number of days spent in a hospital, but with new incentives for doctors and hospitals to prevent injuries and improve results. And we will slow the growth of Medicare costs by strengthening an independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers who will look at all the evidence and recommend the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending while protecting access to the services that seniors need."

The Goldwater Institute in Phoenix has filed suit over the IPAB provision. In a statement on the suit they said the "health care bill marks the greatest expansion of federal involvement in medicine since the creation of Medicaid."

The institute criticized the bill giving the IPAB virtually unlimited power with no oversight by Congress. "The bill forbids members of Congress from offering any meaningful oversight of a new stand alone agency, the Independent Payment Advisory Board. The board has been created with sweeping authority to control health care costs. The health care bill blocks Congress from ever repealing the agency, except for a short time in 2017."

They also expressed concern over the IPAB mandate to control costs and not have its decisions reviewed. They "will be able to dictate how much doctors can charge for medical care, how insurance companies will pay for it, and when patients can get access to cutting-edge treatments. Shockingly, neither Congress nor the courts can review or reverse these decisions."

Critics say as part of its mandate the board will have the authority to control care patients receive.

A Newsweek article called The case for killing granny said the government would need to address the financial aspects of caring for the elderly. "The idea that we might ration health care to seniors (or anyone else) is political anathema." It went on to say, "but the need to spend less money on the elderly at the end of life is the elephant in the room in the health-reform debate."

Comment: Also from the article:
Compared with other Western countries, the United States has more health care - but, generally speaking, not better health care. There is no way we can get control of costs, which have grown by nearly 50 percent in the past decade, without finding a way to stop overtreating patients. In his address to Congress, President Obama spoke airily about reducing inefficiency, but he slid past the hard choices that will have to be made to stop health care from devouring ever-larger slices of the economy and tax dollar. A significant portion of the savings will have to come from the money we spend on seniors at the end of life because, as Willie Sutton explained about why he robbed banks, that's where the money is.

The article lamented how, currently, almost one third of Medicare expenditures-"about $66.8 billion a year - goes to chronically ill patients in the last two years of life."

Comment: Also from the article:
Our medical system does everything it can to encourage hope. And American health care has been near miraculous - the envy of the world - in its capacity to develop new lifesaving and life-enhancing treatments. But death can be delayed only so long, and sometimes the wait is grim and degrading. The hospice ideal recognized that for many people, quiet and dignity - and loving care and good painkillers - are really what's called for.