With a March 31, 2014, deadline impending for open enrollment in the insurance exchanges established by “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (also known as Obamacare), the Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics at the National Right to Life Committee today issued a new report, “The Affordable Care Act and Health Care Access in the United States.”
The report analyzes four fundamental policy areas of Obamacare and concludes that they will drastically limit access to life-saving medical treatment under the law. These four areas include: the “excess benefit” tax coming into effect in 2018, the current exclusion of adequate health Insurance plans from the exchanges, present limits on senior citizens’ ability to use their own money for health insurance, and federal limits on the care doctors give their patients to be implemented as soon as 2016.
“For pro-life Americans concerned about the impact on innocent human life—both born and unborn—the policies of Obamacare couldn’t be worse,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “Americans are just as concerned with the law’s impact on our ability to access life-saving medical treatment for ourselves, our family members, and our loved ones as with Obamacare’s funding of abortions. Obamacare is bad medicine for America.”
Since Obamacarewas first debated in Congress, National Right to Life’s Powell Center for Medical Ethics has argued that key provisions of Obamacare would limit what Americans could spend—out of their own funds—to access life-saving medical treatment. As the Center’s new report concludes, Americans will see a significant shift in how they are able to access health care, and just what types of treatment they will be able to obtain.
As documented by media reports and the language of the law itself, Obamacare will limit access to life-saving treatment in four different ways:
1. Obamacare imposes a 40% excise tax on employer-paid health insurance premiums above a governmentally imposed limit that does not keep up with medical inflation. Consequently, insurance companies will be forced to impose increasingly severe restraints on policy-holders’ access to medical diagnosis and treatment—limits that will make it harder to get often-expensive treatments essential to combating life-threatening illnesses.
2. Under Obamacare, consumers using the exchanges may only choose plans offered by insurers who do not allow their customers to spend what government bureaucrats deem an “excessive or unjustified” amount for their health insurance – regardless of whether the insurers offer such plans inside or outside of the exchanges established by the law.
3. Most senior citizens know that the law will significantly cut government funding for Medicare, but they may not be aware of the law’s provision allowing Washington bureaucrats to prevent them from making up the Medicare shortfall with their own funds by limiting their right to spend their own money to obtain insurance less likely to limit treatments that could save their lives.
4. The “Independent Payment Advisory Board” is directed to recommend measures to limit spending on health care to a growth rate below medical inflation – not just for Medicare, but also for all private, nongovernmental health care spending. The federal Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) is then authorized to implement these measures by placing limits on the treatments providers may give their patients by requiring them to abide by so-called “quality and efficiency standards” imposed by HHS.
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“Obamacare authorizes Washington bureaucrats to create one uniform, national standard of care that is designed to limit what private citizens are allowed to spend to save their own lives,” stated Burke Balch, J.D., director of the Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics. “We are convinced most Americans do not believe that the government should limit the right of Americans to use their own money for health care necessary to save their lives. Yet, that is exactly what Obamacare does. ”
The report is available from the National Right to Life Communications Department here: www.nrlc.org/communications/healthcarereport.