Photo Credit: Courtesy Aaron Klein
Aaron Klein

Study author Dr. Marisa Cruz told UPI the mortality index could be an opportunity for seniors to engage with their primary care provider in having “informed discussions” about health-care maintenance.

In January this columnist reported that the foundations for health-care rationing and so-called death panels may have already been laid in largely unreported sections of President Obama’s health-care legislation.

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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 to carry out “comparative clinical effectiveness research,” which is defined in the law as evaluating and comparing “health outcomes” and “clinical effectiveness, risks and benefits” of two or more medical treatments or services.

The purpose of the research is purportedly for the government to determine which treatments work best so that money is not spent on less effective treatments.

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.

Obamacare, however, 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.

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