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Akin: Stimulus bill may have 'stealth medical rationing'

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 12, 2009 - U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Town and Country, is no fan of the federal stimulus package -- regardless of its size -- that's winding through Congress.

But he's particularly concerned about provisions that he says deal with medical issues, including "language that may lead to curtailing medical treatments and research..."

"As well as placing nearly an additional $800 billion on top of historic levels of debt, this massive spending bill seeks to expand government in ways that many Americans find alarming," said Akin in a statement. "Surprisingly, the stimulus bill contains report language that suggests the curtailing of more expensive life saving medical procedures and research. Many of my Democrat colleagues favor a European style reform of our medical system. Unfortunately such systems place medical policy in the hands of the bureaucracy, which is charged with determining what medical procedures and research will be available."

Akin spokesman Steve Taylor said this morning that the congressman was referring to language in the U.S. House version "that talked about electronic filing'' of medical records, medical databases and "defining reasonable use'' of certain medical procedures.

Akin became aware of the provisions via press accounts. Taylor said the congressman isn't sure if such language remains in the latest version, but fears that it's an example of non-fiscal issues that are in what Taylor called "an overly broad'' bill.

Said Akin: "It is unfortunate that panic over our current economic situation is being capitalized on for such stealth advancement of a social agenda by the majority. Suggesting that the government be allowed to ration health care is a major policy question and should not be slipped in as a footnote."

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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