It's stunning how the truth has found its' way to the light of day once the massive health care legislation finally passed. When Sarah Palin talked about "death panels" she was then, and is now, scoffed at by the media and members of the Democratic elite. Now we see the President's Budget Director touting the wonders of the Independent Payment Advisory Board that will be ultimately responsible for denying treatments they deem excessive and setting Medicare reimbursement rates. This is the group with the power to decide the pain killer vs. the operation question. Members of the panel will not be accountable to the electorate as they will be appointed by the President. As Orszag makes clear in the video below this board will be very powerful.
The IPAB drew significant opposition from the health care industry though this was not made widely known to the public during the debate. The powerful IPAB advisory board represents a significant shift in decision making away from your doctor and towards Washington:
Medicare providers and suppliers could be subject to significant payment cuts if the proposed IPAB is enacted and overall Medicare spending continues to increase at its current rate. A group of providers and advocacy groups, including the American Hospital Association, joined in a January 11, 2010, letter opposing the IPAB, noting that it would not be accountable to anyone but the president (who appoints its members). Shifting payment authority from Congress to an independent commission would be a significant change, and is viewed as one of the most meaningful measures in health reform legislation with respect to bending the cost curve in health spending.In spite of the power invested in the IPAB, a recent report by the President's own Medicare Advisory cautioned costs will continue to rise under the new health care law. The report further predicted cuts to hospitals and other care providers could force some into the red while others will be driven from the Medicare market entirely.
There can be little doubt, a shortage of providers faced with increased demand for services will lead to rationing and/or higher costs. While advocates of health care legislation argue there is rationing in our current health care system, this rationing is done primarily by the insurers driven by free market forces. There is a distinction between rationing by political bureaucracies and rationing by competitive free market systems. Given my druthers, I would take my chances in the free market every time. Anyone recall the price of their first VCR? If you've priced one lately you'll know that is one market government has managed to stay away from. All things considered the health care legislation seems quite short on hope and jam-packed with change of the unintended and undesired sort. Sadly, some in the administration still consider these revelations a good thing: