Talk to a British émigré friend of mine whose octogenarian parents still live in the UK and have to deal with their National Health Service (NHS) and he loses his temper. Talk to my septuagenarian parents who have each had health difficulties over the past year and you hear of the challenges of aging and the choices available to them.
When each has had to consult a physician for care, they have often asked friends and family members (in the medical profession) if the course of action that health care profession recommended was the best option — and to learn what else (if anything) they could do. In some cases, they, like many Americans, have sought a second opinion.
As government extends the reach of its tentacles into our health care system, many fear that it will limit the number of choices available to patients. Taking issue with the use of the term “death panel” to describe the new Medicare regulations I blogged about here, calling such criticism “misplaced“, the editors of the Washington Examiner find the term
. . . entirely justified when used in reference to another provision of Obamacare — the Independent Payment Advisory Board — whose members will attempt to save money by making one-size-fits-all recommendations for skimping on care protocols and treatment regimes, particularly for older patients.
Unelected bureaucrats will soon be set the standards for the treatment doctors can offer, unelected bureaucrats who won’t be able to judge on a case-by-case basis, thus unable to define treatments which address the particular circumstances of individual patients.
Read the entire piece to see why the editors object to the manner in which the Administration is enacting the Medicare regulation in question, seeing it as “part of a broad pattern of opacity and deception” in the current Administration.
That said, let’s also bear in mind just how the various bureaucracies created by Obamacare will intrude ever further in the treatment health care professionals can offer and insurance companies can pay for.
Some might point out that today many insurance companies deny certain treatments. And they will be right. But, there is not now one standard for the industry. As long as companies compete to offer services, we have a choice.
Instead of the Democrats’ overhaul fixing this problem, it exacerbated it, reducing choices rather than increasing them (as they would have done had they enacted reforms which made the market for health care insurance more competitive). Yes, reform was needed (and is needed even more than it was before Obamacare); the “reform” enacted only made the problem worse.
Where faceless private sector bureaucrats limited the services their companies would pay for, soon faceless government bureaucrats will limit them even further.
But, as my doctor friends have informed me, you can argue with private sector officials — and often win, trying though the experience may be.