I think people are missing the main point of Obamacare’s alleged “death panels”: Obama has forfeited any claim to moral authority in pursuit of his so-called health care reform.
It is indisputable that the thrust of Obama’s push for Obamacare was that too many Americans were being denied access to medical care, and that health care “should be a right for every American.” He obviously believes insurance companies let his mother die in refusing to cover her medical bills because of her pre-existing condition.
So, Obama concluded, as a matter of morality and legality, there should be universal access to health care among Americans. Anything less is immoral.
Applying that rationale, Obama railed against the status quo. He excoriated insurance companies for their “obscene profits” and also blamed them, along with the entire health care system, for the “fact” that 46 million Americans (he sometimes said 30 million) were without health insurance.
Under his plan, all Americans would have such insurance, even those who didn’t want to exercise the newly created right he fashioned out of whole cloth. Obamacare might not be perfect, but by gosh, it would take care of the access issue and so it would be worth any criticisms against it.
Of course, we knew all along that Obama’s premise was fraudulent and flawed. We’ve been through the phony numbers before. Of that 40-plus million without health insurance, millions can afford it but choose not to buy it, mostly young people gambling on their good health. Millions have access under existing government programs but decline to avail themselves of it. Millions are not U.S. citizens. Many others are misleadingly included in the uninsured category, though they are only without coverage for a part of the year. Some experts have estimated that between eight million and 12 million Americans actually fall through the cracks, making just enough not to qualify for government programs but not enough to afford insurance. But even they can receive emergency room care.
Regardless of whose numbers you accept, Obama insisted that his plan would make sure everyone was covered. And what’s the relevance of increasing insurance coverage if not to increase people’s access to health care? So, it was just accepted as an essentially unchallenged premise that Obamacare, whatever else you wanted to say about it, would increase Americans’ access to health care.
But as many of us knew all along and warned, Obamacare will not increase access to care. It will inevitably lead to rationing, and rationing, by definition, means reducing care. The major difference is that under Obamacare the state will decide who gets what care — a bureaucratic, emotion-free board of “experts” called the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).
Let’s put aside for a moment the inflammatory implications of calling this board a “death panel,” which I think is justified. Let’s temporarily remove it from the equation so that Obamacare proponents can’t use it to marginalize its opponents as hyperbolic extremists.
We don’t have to go that far to blow Obama’s case for Obamacare out of the water, so for the sake of argument, let’s concede that Obamacare won’t empower any board to kill people, even though it will empower a board to determine treatment that could prolong or shorten our lives.
Let’s just zero in on the reality that IPAB will make top-down decisions directly affecting access to care, which will be enforceable by law and not reviewable or even subject to repeal except by a two-thirds vote of Congress. Obamacare has no other way to bring medical costs down except to ration care, through IPAB and other provisions in the law. IPAB will ration by limiting reimbursements to health care providers according to its designated schedule.
Another provision of this noxious socialist law imposes a penalty on primary care physicians who refer patients to specialists most frequently, as noted by Obama’s distant cousin Dr. Milton R. Wolf, who I cite in my book. Here again, Obamacare will in many cases discourage and ultimately deny access to the most appropriate medical care according to the physicians closest to the patients.
There are other access-limiting provisions in the law. The premise of increasing accessibility is just the excuse to confer on Big Brother control over health care and many other aspects of our lives, like so many other ostensibly well-intentioned liberal programs.
We needn’t prove the imminence of a death panel to demonstrate that the foundational premise of Obamacare — increased access — is based on a lie and thus the case for it falls. What remains standing are all the negative aspects of a socialized medical system: loss of freedom, reduction of quality and choice of care, waiting lines, and a severe compromise of the personal relationship between physician and patient.