Below is a written op-ed that I have written, looking to be published for a pittance perhaps but does reflect concerns that I have about the PPACA (aka: Obamacare) regarding potential rationing, and have had for awhile with my Muscular Dystrophy (MD). Access to health insurance is admirable, but are there unintended costs and consequences in the law?
Does the PPACA (aka Obamacare) ration care despite what its proponents say?
As someone afflicted with Muscular Dystrophy and uses a power wheelchair for ambulation, I pay attention to the nuance of laws that may offer unintended consequences to myself. Such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), aka Obamacare.
There are a few that might advise me that such a law could be beneficial to a disabled consumer. Perhaps in part, however one aspect concerns me greatly: the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). The term ‘death panel’ has been used frequently, and the biggest reason that term may be appropriate is just who makes determinations in available care. Per Public Law PL 111–148, dated 20 March 2010, on Page 189:
“This advisory board under this paragraph shall consist of 15 members appointed by the Comptroller General of the United States…”
How great is that? A politically appointed Comptroller General of the US and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) gets to select this board of 15. Will they be chosen for the knowledge and competence unexpected of most bureaucrats - especially from the spendthrift GAO?
So I wonder if such parameters such as my condition Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy determine the quality of care I may or may not receive. Will such a bureaucracy consider my ‘quality of life’ to be sufficient in determining what care I may need – and perhaps not receive? Further, the secretary of HHS, an unelected position, has extraordinarily broad powers to enforce the law. A text search of the public law mentions the HHS secretary over 100 times.
The media seems to indicate the IPAB will likely ‘ration’ care. The libertarian Cato.org opines: “Obamacare requires IPAB to issue "legislative proposals" to reduce future spending. Those proposals could include drastic cuts that jeopardize seniors' access to care”
LifeNews.com notes that the law that the law states “The Obamacare law doesn’t define what it means by the ‘rationing’ it says IPAB can’t use… the standards limiting treatment are simply ‘cost-effective’ means of assuring patients get ‘appropriate’ care’ ”. Whatever the HHS says is appropriate – whatever that means.
Is the IPAB part of the law designed to ration care? Given the law as it reads, it probably does despite any (and all) disclaimers to the contrary. Will disabled and elderly persons be denied life-saving care? Given my physical issues and look into it, I have concluded that it does.
Comments are welcome!