Pro-Life Group Says Medicare Bill Would Prevent Rationing

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 20, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Group Says Medicare Bill Would Prevent Rationing

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 20, 2003

Washington, DC ( — A national pro-life organization says the Medicare bill Congress is currently considering enables older Americans to escape rationing of life-saving medical treatment.

In a letter to members of Congress, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) urges a vote in favor of the bill.

NRLC President Dr. Wanda Franz says the group has always "strongly opposed involuntary denial of life-saving medical treatment through rationing."

The organization has been trying to educate members of Congress for the last ten years about the importance of restructuring  Medicare in order to avoid the preventable deaths of senior citizens due to rationing.

The problem members of Congress are facing is that it will be difficult for government to provide Medicare coverage at existing levels as the baby boom generation retires. If the funds available for providing coverage are limited, NRLC argues in its letter, the only possible result will be rationing of medical care.

"Since senior citizens are required to participate in Medicare, this would amount to government-imposed involuntary euthanasia," Franz says in the letter.

Under the Medicare bill, an alternative to rationing of medical care exists.

Private fee-for-service options allow those eligible for Medicare to voluntarily supplement government health programs with their own funds to obtain unrationed care. This is comparable to the way in which most retirees supplement government Social Security payments for living expenses with their own funds.

That concept is what the pro-life group seeks to protect.

NRLC does not take a position on the level of governmental funding of health care "so long as Americans are left free, if they wish, to make up government shortfalls with their own funds and to have the legally available choice of unrationed, unmanaged health insurance," Franz explained.

Franz said the final version of the bill "fundamentally advances this critically important way of avoiding involuntary denial of life-saving treatment."

During the Clinton administration, NRLC strongly opposed the Clinton Health Care Plan because it would involve rationing via premium cap price controls. It also included abortions funded at taxpayer expense.

The Congressional letter is also signed by NRLC Executive Director David N. O’Steen and Burke Balch, Director of Medical Ethics.

Related web sites:
National Right to Life on rationing –