Howard Dean: ObamaCare has a ‘rationing’ panel, after all
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 29, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Howard Dean, the former presidential candidate, chairman of the Democratic Party, and proponent of universal health care, has said a key provision of the president's health care law will not work – and amounts to “rationing.”
“The IPAB is essentially a health-care rationing body,” he wrote. “By setting doctor reimbursement rates for Medicare and determining which procedures and drugs will be covered and at what price, the IPAB will be able to stop certain treatments its members do not favor by simply setting rates to levels where no doctor or hospital will perform them.”
The IPAB would consist of a panel of 15 unelected “experts” who would determine appropriate treatments for maximum “cost-effectiveness.” Former Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag said the group would have “an enormous amount of potential power” to set medical policy nationwide.
Dean wrote Monday that this approach would not work to control costs and had a “40-year track record of failure” – including similar measures he signed into law as governor of Vermont.
Instead, the result of government-mandated procedures is that “bureaucrats in... [the] public sector are making medical decisions without knowing the patients.”
“Most important, once again, these kinds of schemes do not control costs,” he wrote. “The medical system simply becomes more bureaucratic.”
IPAB, whose members’ decisions about health care are fast-tracked by become law with no amendment and little oversight, cannot be annulled until 2017, and then only with a supermajority of both houses of Congress, even if the entire health care plan is repealed.
Critics are concerned the rush to keep prices low, while adding millions of newly insured Americans and decreasing the number of doctors, will lead to British-style denial of care.
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Most outspoken was former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who was widely attacked when she said health care rationing would target the weakest Americans.
"Who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick and the elderly, and the disabled,” Palin wrote on her Facebook page in 2009. “The America I know is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's death panel, so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment on their 'level of productivity' in society, whether they are worthy of health care.”
She concluded, "Such a system is downright evil."
At the time, Politifact made her statement and others like it the “lie of the year.”
The editorial makes a tone change for the 2004 presidential contender, who now represents the health care industry as a senior adviser to lobbying firm McKenna Long & Aldridge.
Rep. Phil Roe, R-TN, introduced a measure to repeal the IPAB, which he calls the “real death panel,” and 22 Democrats have signaled they wish to abolish the panel. Before his retirement, Barney Frank of Massachusetts was among them.
This week, he blamed the lack of progress in repealing IPAB on “the extraordinary partisanship on Capitol Hill and Republican threats to defund” ObamaCare – something Republican leadership, particularly in the Senate, has sought to avoid.
“In his tacit admission that the IPAB equates to a death panel and will not actually control health care costs, he's (somewhat unintentionally) hit on the argument that fiscal conservatives have made all along - the only way to get health care costs under control is to have less government intervention and more free market pressures on cost growth,” Jeff Reynolds of FreedomWorks wrote. “What Dean fails to realize is that no matter which parts of the law are tweaked, ObamaCare will always have exactly the opposite effect. ”
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