Where are we headed?
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Sunday, January 22, 2012
ObamaCare - Rationing and Death Panel - Call it What You Want
Health Care, No, Too Old
“It” is the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a new supreme authority over Medicare spending in America that was created by the health care overhaul law passed in 2010 by a "Democratic" Congress. IPAB is a panel of 15, so-called, experts appointed by the president with authority to cut Medicare payments according to targets prescribed in the law. Starting in 2015, its annual “recommendations” will have the force of law. They are not subject to appeal or to judicial review.
Congress can override IPAB but only with a 3/5 super majority in the Senate and some how get presidential approval for a substitute cost-cutting plan.
Former White House budget chief Peter Orszag calls the health care spending board a “very promising structure” for limiting Medicare costs. He counts it a virtue that IPAB’s decrees are very hard for Congress to overturn. “Radical as it sounds,” says Orszag, “we need to counter the gridlock of our political institutions by making them a bit less democratic.”
IPAB succeeds at that, and then some. Diane Cohen, an attorney for the Goldwater Institute, which is challenging IPAB in court, has blasted the health care law’s creation of IPAB as “the most sweeping delegation of congressional authority in history....”
The office of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) warns that “There are virtually no checks on the panel, since its members are not answerable to voters and its recommendations cannot be challenged in court…. Many expect that in efforts to control spending, the panel will limit patient access to medical care.”
While the law does prohibit IPAB from rationing health care, it’s hard to imagine any other outcome from IPAB price controls even if it is called something else. As payments decline, doctors will be forced to drop out of Medicare or withhold some medical services—and that will leave Medicare patients standing in line or going without, aka "rationing".
“Huge reductions in care”
Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted that IPAB cuts could hurt seniors. Asked in a 2011 House hearing if IPAB-ordered payment reductions could mean longer waits for dialysis services, Sebelius replied: “ any cut in services … could mean huge reductions in care that seniors would have the opportunity to receive.”
Measures to repeal IPAB have been introduced in both the House and Senate. House passage seems certain, but the outcome is in doubt in the Senate where just 32 members have co-sponsored the “Health Care Bureaucrats Elimination Act.”
When is old, too old to receive Health Care?
I assume most citizens of the United States now understand, for the good of the country and perhaps the life of their parents, grandparents or themselves, the current President, Obama needs to be a one term President in order to turn this country around.