Forget Death Panels: Pro-Life Group Says Repeal ObamaCare Over Rationing

Bioethics   Steven Ertelt   Jan 6, 2011   |   12:58PM    Washington, DC

Never mind the controversy over the so-called death panels in the controversial ObamaCare health care law. One pro-life group says the measure should be repealed because it contains rationing elsewhere.

Although the death panels — the voluntary advanced care planning that pro-life advocates have been concerned about because it could have doctors financially motivated to promote less medical care and lifesaving treatment — have occupied most of the debate, the National Right to Life Committee says other provisions cause concern.

In a new letter to House members that LifeNews.com obtained, NRLC urges a yes vote on the repeal measure the House of representatives is slated to consider next week.

The abortion funding Obamacare doesn’t satisfactorily prohibit is a central tenet of the pro-repeal letter.

“As enacted, the PPACA contains multiple provisions authorizing federal subsidies for abortion, and additional provisions on which future abortion-expanding regulatory mandates may be based,” the pro-life group tells lawmakers.

But the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” also contains “multiple provisions that will, if fully implemented, result in government-imposed rationing of lifesaving medical care,’ NRLC says:

The department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will be empowered to impose so-called “quality and efficiency” measures on health care providers, based on recommendations by the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which is directed to force private health care spending below the rate of medical inflation. In many cases treatment that a doctor and patient deem needed or advisable to save that patient’s life or preserve or improve the patient’s health but which runs afoul of the imposed standards will be denied, even if the patient wants to pay for it.

The law empowers HHS to prevent older Americans from making up with their own funds for the $555 billion the law cuts from Medicare by refusing to permit senior citizens the choice of private-fee-for-service plans whose premiums are sufficient to provide unrationed care but which HHS, in its unlimited discretion, disallows. The Obama health care law could thus lead to elimination of the only way that seniors will have to escape rationing — by limiting their right to spend their own money to save their own lives.

The law instructs and authorizes state bureaucrats to limit the value of the insurance policies that Americans may purchase. Not only will the exchanges exclude policies from competing in an exchange when government authorities do not agree with their premiums, but the exchanges will even exclude insurers whose plans outside the exchange offer consumers the ability to reduce the danger of treatment denial by spending what those government authorities claim to be an “excessive or unjustified” amount.

This will create a “chilling effect,” deterring insurers who hope to compete within the exchanges from offering adequately funded plans even outside of them, so that consumers will find it increasingly difficult to obtain health insurance that offers adequate and unrationed health care.

Even with the death panels removed from the legislation, and now from the regulations the Obama administration has issued, NRLC says there’s no pro-life reason not to repeal the government-run scheme.

“The law is so riddled with provisions that violate right-to-life principles that it cannot simply be patched. It must be repealed, and any replacement legislation must contain all necessary safeguards for the right to life of the most vulnerable members of the human family,” the letter concludes.

The letter, co-authored by NRLC legislative director Douglas Johnson, executive director David O’Steen, and NRLC medical ethics attorney Burke Balch, says the vote to repeal ObamaCare is so important to the pro-life community that Right to Life will score the vote and report it to its millions of members.