If you only know… it will scare you, too!

If you just know…it will scare you!

Some details of the Health care bill:

  • The Reid bill (in sections 3403 and 2021) explicitly empowers Medicare to deny treatment based on cost.
  • An Independent Medicare Advisory Board created by the bill — composed of permanent, unelected and, therefore, unaccountable members — will greatly expand the rationing practices that already occur in the program.
  • Medicare, for example, has limited cancer patients’ access to Epogen, a costly but vital drug that stimulates red blood cell production.
  • It has limited the use of virtual, and safer, colonoscopies due to cost concerns.
  • And Medicare refuses medical claims at twice the rate of the largest private insurers.
  • Section 6301 of the Reid bill creates new comparative effectiveness research (CER) programs.
  • CER panels have been used as rationing commissions in other countries such as the United Kingdom, where 15,000 cancer patients die prematurely every year according to the National Cancer Intelligence Network.
  • CER panels here could effectively dictate coverage options and ration care for plans that participate in the state insurance exchanges created by the bill.
  • The Reid bill depends on the recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in no fewer than 14 places.
  • This task force was responsible for advising women under 50 to not undergo annual mammograms.
  • The administration claims the task force recommendations do not carry the force of law, but the Reid bill itself contradicts them in section 2713.
  • The bill explicitly states, on page 17, that health insurance plans “shall provide coverage for” services approved by the task force.
  • This chilling provision represents the government stepping between doctors and patients.
  • When the government asserts the power to provide care, it also asserts the power to deny care.

Source: Dr. Tom Coburn, “The Health Bill Is Scary; Government guidelines would likely have forbidden the test I used to discover Sheila’s cancer,” Wall Street Journal, December 16, 2009.

For text:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703514404574588842779569168.html

The mandates in the Health care bill:

Insurance coverage mandates refer to the restrictions each state sets on which type of policy can be sold legally within that market.  For example, fourteen states now require all insurance plans sold to cover infertility treatments, regardless of the patient’s need or desire for these services.  Other states ban the sale of insurance plans unless they include coverage for massage therapy, obesity surgery, pastoral care, and wigs.

Needle-phobic consumers cannot buy plans without acupuncture coverage, and teetotalers must pay for plans that include inpatient drug rehabilitation, says Dr. Linda Halderman, a General Surgeon and policy adviser in the California State Senate.

What effect do mandates have on the cost of health insurance?

  • According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, just 12 of the most common insurance mandates currently in place raise premium rates by as much as 30 percent.
  • The State of California forces over 50 such mandates on the employer-provided (group) insurance market, but not on individual plans; consequently, it costs three times more for California employers to offer insurance than if a plan is privately purchased.

In mandate-heavy states, consumers are denied the option of buying low-cost, basic health insurance plans to cover major illness or injury.  They cannot choose to save money by paying out of pocket for ten-dollar pneumococcus pneumonia vaccines and ninety-dollar mammograms, thereby reserving health insurance for significant expenses, explains Halderman.

In those states, insurance is not insurance at all — it is expensive, prepaid health care.  In other words, when Hummers and Ferraris are the only vehicles sold, people on Toyota budgets can’t afford transportation, says Halderman.

Source: Linda Halderman, “Senate’s Solution: Consumer Choice Is Dead on Arrival,” American Thinkers, December 16, 2009.

For text:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/senates_solution_consumer_choi.html

The possibility of losing your health savings account:

For an individual government mandate to compel the purchase of health insurance, another government requirement for something called “guaranteed issue” must first be enacted.  “Guaranteed issue” forces every insurance company to sell health insurance to every applicant regardless of age, health history, lifestyle or risk factors. 

In theory, this appears sound.  If health insurance companies can’t “just say no” to high-risk applicants, no one will be left without access to coverage.  Unfortunately, the law of unintended consequences trumps this logic.  Under guaranteed issue mandates, “access to coverage” becomes “access to higher premiums,” says Dr. Linda Halderman, a General Surgeon and policy adviser in the California State Senate.

For example:

  • In New Jersey and Massachusetts, unlike in California, laws were passed to force every insurance carrier to sell plans to every individual applicant; individual insurance premiums in New Jersey and Massachusetts are three times higher than those in California.
  • Washington State tried guaranteed issue, but with no way to mitigate risk, insurance carriers in the state suffered severe financial losses related to high-risk patients; they then exited the individual market; no individual health insurance plans were accessible to Washington residents at any price.
  • Sen. Hillary Clinton was not a New Yorker in 1993, the year New York State forced guaranteed issue on the health insurance market; as a result, rates for a third of all those insured increased by 20 percent to 59 percent, causing 500,000 New Yorkers to cancel their health insurance plans.

The Heritage Foundation published a 1998 study evaluating the 16 states in which the most aggressive health insurance mandates and regulations were passed between 1990 and 1994.  The goal of these individual, employer and insurance industry mandates-including individual mandates, guaranteed issue and price fixing of premiums-was to increase access to coverage and decrease the uninsured population in a given state.  The effects were than compared with the 34 states that had not enacted such regulations:

  • The two groups of states shared nearly equivalent rates of uninsured residents before the reforms.
  • But by 1996, the sixteen states with the most aggressive reforms (including New Jersey, New York and Washington) experienced a growth rate in their uninsured population eight times higher than the 34 states without such mandates.
  • Additionally, the percentage of the population covered by private or individual insurance declined.

Source: Linda Halderman, “Senate’s Solution: Consumer Choice Is Dead on Arrival,” American Thinkers, December 16, 2009.

For text:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/12/senates_solution_consumer_choi.html

http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_Category=16

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