Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Senate bill provisions threaten rationing

In addition to funding abortion, the Senate health care "reform" bill has numerous rationing-related provisions. A new National Right to Life analysis concludes:

  • Senior citizens' ability to use their own money, if they choose, to avoid involuntary denial of medical treatment under Medicare could be severely limited.
  • State commissioners of the new health insurance exchanges created by the bill would be given power to deny people who are trying to obtain policies in the exchange the option of choosing health plans less likely to deny treatment, by limiting what they would be allowed to pay for such policies.
  • In response to public reaction over the summer denouncing efforts to encourage patients to agree to reject treatment as a way of saving costs, the Senate avoided including the "advance care planning" provisions still in the House bill. Instead, it has sought to achieve a similar result under a different name, Under the title "Shared Decisionmaking," the bill funds and promotes "patient decision aids" to "help" patients make treatment decisions.
  • A Medicare Advisory Board is established to force Medicare payments below the rate of medical inflation.

Since its inception, the pro-life movement has been as concerned with protecting the lives of older people and people with disabilities from euthanasia, including the involuntary denial of treatment, food, and fluids necessary to prevent death, as it has been dedicated to protecting unborn children from abortion. Sen. Reid's bill contains multiple provisions that threaten these lives.

The Reid Bill contains important elements that would greatly impact the ability of patients to receive unrationed medical care. These elements, combined with inadequate funding -- a scheme of "robbing Peter to pay Paul" under which half of the funding comes from cuts in Medicare spending -- would result in rationing life-saving treatment for senior citizens.

Read the full analysis.