National Right to Life vs. Limited Government

Shortly before the House voted 220 to 215 to pass the new Medicare prescription drug bill on November 22, the National Right to Life Committee announced that it will score, in the affirmative, congressional votes on the drug plan-thus penalizing limited government pro-lifers who vote against the bill. Twenty-five conservative Republicans voted against the bill. Senate action is expected soon.

Proclaimed NRLC, “We are now urging members of Congress to vote for the bill because it enables older Americans to escape rationing of life-saving medical treatment. For this reason, the National Right to Life Committee will include the roll call in its scorecard of key pro-life votes for the 108th Congress.”

In an e-mail, NRLC’s Burke Balch told HUMAN EVENTS that as Medicare faces a financial crunch in the future, “rationing” could result. “Since senior citizens are required to participate in Medicare, this would amount to government-imposed involuntary euthanasia. . .,” he said. “It is critical to transform Medicare into a voucher-type system, which allows senior citizens who choose to do so to add their own money, on top of the government contribution, to obtain unrationed health insurance.” He criticized alternatives to this “defined contribution” plan that allow the government to continue to limit spending on health care or to set prices.

“Unless we institute defined contribution, without upper (non-market) limits on what people can voluntarily add to that contribution to get the health insurance they want, there will be tremendous pressure to raise taxes down the line, to avert (although only partially) the worst of the rationing that will otherwise ensue,” he said. “The sorts of private plans that have been held out by some as being able to compete with government Medicare are in fact shackled by the entanglement between what they can charge with what the government is willing to pay.” He dismissed concerns that money under the bill will go to companies that produce abortifacients, saying, “We are aware of nothing in the bill that funds production of abortifacients. Legal theory may posit the ‘fertile octogenarian,’ but we don’t know of too many retirees lining up for abortions!”

For more information about NRLC’s position, go to