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Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Klein-Aaron

Obamacare May Be Worse Than People Thought

The foundations for health-care rationing and even so-called death panels may have already been quietly laid in largely unreported sections of President Obama’s health-care legislation, this column has discovered.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, calls for the establishment of a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. The new institute’s purpose is purportedly for the government to determine which treatments work best so that money is not spent on less effective treatments.

Such research was already previously allotted $1.1 billion in Obama’s 2009 stimulus package. Obamacare now allows for about $3.8 billion in additional funding for effectiveness research, with the establishment of the new Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

The institute is to be governed by a board to assist in identifying research priorities and establishing the research project agenda. Also weighing in will be an “expert advisory panel” of practicing and research clinicians, patients, and experts in scientific and health services research and health services delivery.

A section of Obamacare makes clear the secretary of health and human services may not use research data from the new institute in a manner that treats the life of an elderly, disabled, or terminally ill individual as lower in value than that of an individual who is younger, non-disabled, or not terminally ill.

However, the dictate comes with a qualifier some many find concerning. Obamacare contains largely unreported text that allows the health secretary to limit any “alternative treatments” of the elderly, disabled, or terminally ill if such treatments are not recommended by the new research institute.

Another section of Obamacare calls for the new institute to study the effectiveness of treatment in “subpopulations,” including “racial and ethnic minorities, women, age and groups of individuals with different comorbidities, genetic and molecular sub-types, or quality of life preferences.”

The effectiveness of such research has been widely called into question. In a 2009 study, the CATO Institute raised concern about such government-funded research being politicized or influenced by lobbying.

“Unlike market-generated research, a federal comparative-effectiveness agency would be subject to political manipulation, which could block the generation of any useful research,” wrote CATO.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, or NICE, is the equivalent to Obamacare’s institute in the United Kingdom. The New England Journal of Medicine has related that “NICE considers treatments cost-effective if their cost-effectiveness ratio is £20,000 ($34,000) per QALY (quality adjusted life year).” A QALY is an extra year of “quality” life expectancy added based on the treatment.

There have been recent reports that NICE refused to fund four new treatments for kidney cancer because they only change a patient’s life expectancy from six months to a year.

Not-So-Strange Bedfellows:
Al Jazeera And The Muslim Brotherhood

Al Jazeera, which last week announced it purchased Al Gore’s Current TV for $500 million, has a long history of close ties to and support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Al Jazeera’s founders, themselves close to the Muslim Brotherhood, have long attempted to gain influence in the U.S., including through the financing of Arabic classes in American public schools via a Muslim Brotherhood-linked charity. Al Jazeera plans to establish a new U.S. cable news channel, tentatively called Al Jazeera America, utilizing the purchase of Current TV.

Al Jazeera’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood go back many years. Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the top leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, rose to fame in the Arab world after Al Jazeera gave him his a major platform. Many regard Qaradawi as the de facto spiritual leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. Qaradawi achieved star status because of his regular sermons and interviews on Al Jazeera.

The Arab news network also strongly supported the revolution against former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and has taken a friendly tone toward the country’s new Muslim Brotherhood leadership.

Al Jazeera was founded with financing from the emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who previously served as the network’s chairman. The network is still financed largely from Qatar, where its headquarters are located. The current chairman of Al Jazeera is Sheik Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani, the Qatari emir’s cousin.

This reporter previously reported that an Arabic language program established in several U.S. schools is funded by a Qatar group that maintains close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, while the group’s founder started the Al Jazeera television network.

About the Author: Aaron Klein is a New York Times bestselling author and senior reporter for WND.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 970 AM Radio on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. His website is KleinOnline.com.


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