Former Obama advisor, Steven Rattner, wrote an op-ed a few days ago, “Beyond Obamacare”, that went unnoticed by the MSM (i.e., buried) that everyone needs to read. Love or hate Glenn Beck, nothing gets past that man and his eagle eye behind those Ralphie Parker glasses…
Oh, BTW, Sarah Palin was right. Rattner insists, “We need death panels.”
Well, maybe not death panels, exactly, but unless we start allocating health care resources more prudently — rationing, by its proper name — the exploding cost of Medicare will swamp the federal budget.
But in the pantheon of toxic issues — the famous “third rails” of American politics — none stands taller than overtly acknowledging that elderly Americans are not entitled to every conceivable medical procedure or pharmaceutical.
Most notably, President Obama’s estimable Affordable Care Act regrettably includes severe restrictions on any reduction in Medicare services or increase in fees to beneficiaries. In 2009, Sarah Palin’s rant about death panels even forced elimination from the bill of a provision to offer end-of-life consultations.
Now, three years on, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, Paul D. Ryan, has offered his latest ambitious plan for addressing the Medicare problem. But like Mr. Obama’s, it holds limited promise for containing the program’s escalating costs within sensible boundaries.
The Obama and Ryan plans are not without common ground; both propose an identical formula for capping the growth in Medicare spending per beneficiary. And both dip into the same toolbox (particularly lower payments to providers) to achieve a reduction of nearly $1 trillion in Medicare expenditures over the next decade from projected levels.
Meanwhile, Mr. Obama’s hopes for sustained cost containment are pinned on a to-be-determined mix of squeezing reimbursements, embracing a selection of the creative ideas that have spewed forth from health care policy wonks and scouring the globe for innovations.
To Mr. Obama’s credit, his plan has more teeth than Mr. Ryan’s; if his Independent Payment Advisory Board comes up with savings, Congress must accept either them or vote for an equivalent package. The problem is, the advisory board can’t propose reducing benefits (a k a rationing) or raising fees (another form of rationing), without which the spending target looms impossibly large.
Let’s not forget that with the elderly population growing rapidly, even if cost increases for each beneficiary can be contained, Medicare would still claim a rising share of the American economy.
No one wants to lose an aging parent. And with price out of the equation, it’s natural for patients and their families to try every treatment, regardless of expense or efficacy. But that imposes an enormous societal cost that few other nations have been willing to bear. Many countries whose health care systems are regularly extolled — including Canada, Australia and New Zealand — have systems for rationing care.
And let’s not forget the power afforded to the HHS secretary to do pretty much whatever she/he wants with ObamaCare (rationing, mandates, taxes, etc.) at any time. Just ask the Catholic Bishops. I guess all those democrats and ObamaCare supporters who are always yelling that healthcare is a “right” must also believe that right ends at a certain age, or medical condition.