Kathleen Gilbert

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Obamacare rationing panels an ‘immediate danger to seniors’: former AMA president

Kathleen Gilbert
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March 21, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Concerns over the new health care law’s system for rationing health care - famously dubbed the “death panels” by Sarah Palin - have been reinforced by a former head of the American Medical Association, who said the advisory panels “will essentially mean rationed care” for the elderly.

Former AMA President Donald Palmisano wrote in a Daily Caller column Monday that the Independent Payment Advisory Boards (IPAB), tasked with keeping Medicare expenses under control, would have little oversight as they deal with the disproportionate cost burden from seniors with greater medical needs.

“The 15 officials who will make up the board will not only be empowered to make what is expected to be billions of dollars’ worth of cuts to Medicare every year, but will be required to do so when spending exceeds targeted rates,” wrote Palmisano.

“PAB’s recommended cuts will become law unless a supermajority in Congress vetoes the board’s proposal and creates its own cost-cutting proposal of equal size — an unlikely scenario even in the most harmonious of political times.”

Although the panels are expected to focus on cutting payments to the doctors themselves, Palmisano said that Medicaid providers are already being sucked dry - and warned that a more brutal form of rationing, using adjustments based on “quality of life” as already practiced in Great Britain, was likely in store.

“IPAB may eventually be allowed to resort to Great Britain’s chosen rationing methods and refuse to provide certain effective treatments to patients who need them based on costs and patients’ remaining ‘quality adjusted life years.’ Though the law currently forbids IPAB from engaging in such behavior, there is little reason to believe these rules won’t be changed — or at least stretched — down the road as costs continue to balloon and political dynamics change,” he wrote.

Palmisano warned that a group of lawmakers urging full repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), instead of piecemeal attempts, may miss the opportunity to block the most dangerous parts of the law, such as IPAB.

f Congress misses what could be its last chance to eliminate IPAB — one of the most egregious aspects of the law — it will be doing a disservice to seniors who need good medical care now and in the near-term future,” wrote Palmisano.

Read Palmisano’s full column here.

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