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Friday, October 8, 2010

OBAMA HEALTH CARE LAW AND MEDICARE – MORE “MEANINGFUL CHOICE” OR DENIAL OF CHOICE TO AVOID RATIONING?

With the rollout of a few of the early provisions of President Obama’s new health law, public opinion against the health law remains high. The Administration continues to attempt to sell key elements to a skeptical public, chief among them are the massive changes to the Medicare program for seniors.

Administration officials had been continually making the dubious claim that the new health law would not harm Medicare, despite nearly half a billion dollars in cuts and other changes. However, according to published reports, they’ve had to do some backpeddling, particularly as it relates to the very popular “Medicare Advantage” plans.

Today Politico reported that,

“The Department of Health and Human Services quietly changed the web version of a speech in which HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius described how the health care overhaul is going to affect Medicare Advantage plans, a controversial section of the law, after aides to Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) challenged its accuracy.

“Sebelius had told an AARP conference in Orlando last week that next year ‘there will be more Medicare Advantage plans to choose from,’ according to prepared remarks e-mailed to reporters and posted on HHS’s website on Monday. Grassley’s staff asked HHS to back up the statement, an aide to the senator, who has long been skeptical of Democrats’ claims about the health law’s impact, told POLITICO.

“As Grassley’s office was drafting a formal letter to Sebelius questioning the claim, the speech text was altered on the HHS web site without noting the change. The statement about more Medicare Advantage plans was deleted and now reads, ‘there will be more meaningful choices.’"

Sebelius effectively concedes the number of Medicare Advantage plans will diminish under the law; however, the new administration line is that “seniors will have now have more meaningful choices."

"More meaningful choices" is a clever attempt to disguise the fact that seniors will be "protected" from having the choice to spend their own money to save their own life. Millions of Americans have chosen the Medicare Advantage plan known as “private fee-for service plans.” This option allows senior citizens the choice of health insurance whose value is not limited by what the government may pay toward it. These plans had been able to set premiums and reimbursement rates for providers without upward limits imposed by government regulation. This means that such plans would not have been forced to ration treatment, as long as senior citizens chose to pay more for them.

Now, the Obama Health Care Rationing Law allows bureaucrats at CMS (Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services) to refuse to permit senior citizens to choose private-fee-for-service plans that charge what the bureaucrats regard as premiums that are too high. Literally, the new law allows CMS to reject any private-fee-for-service plan (or any other Medicare Advantage plan) , for any reason or no reason.

What the Administration calls "more meaningful choices" will ultimately mean that seniors will be prevented from having the effective choice to spend their own money to save their own lives.


Note: revised 10.11.2010

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