NRLC has very serious concerns about aspects of H.R. 3962 as they relate to involuntary denial of lifesaving medical treatment. We will continue to work to correct provisions that we find objectionable in this area, both in the health care legislation that will come before the Senate, and in any conference committee on health care legislation. One of these concerns relates to the ability of seniors to spend their own moeny to save their own lives.
– Section 104, as modified by the Managers’ Amendment, empowers the Commissioner of the Health Insurance Exchange to exclude from the exchange plans offered by health insurance issuers whom the Commissioner considers have “excessive or unjustified premium increases.” This essentially grants to one federal official the discretion to impose price controls on insurancepremiums. While no one wants to pay more for anything, including health care, being prohibited from paying what may be needed to obtain unrationed health insurance amounts to government-imposed health care rationing.– Under current law, Medicare recipients have the legal option, if they choose, of adding their own money on top of the government contribution in order to obtain “private fee-for-service” Medicare Advantage plans that can use the additional premiums to ensure access by paying providers higher rates and to avoid “managed care” limitations on treatments and tests. Presently, the Medicare statute prevents the government from second-guessing or imposing limits on the premiums for private fee-for-service plans, allowing beneficiaries to balance cost, benefit, and affordability in making their own decisions whether to purchase such plans. Section 1175 amends that provision so as to empower the federal government to exclude from competing in Medicare Advantage those plans whose bids it does not like. The consequence is to give the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) the discretion to deny older Americans the choice of plans whose premiums CMS deems too high. This amounts to the imposition of price controls, thus limiting what older Americans are permitted to spend for health insurance. Again, being prohibited from paying what may be needed to obtain unrationed health insurance amounts to government-imposed health care rationing.