Is the pay­ment board a death panel?

Will be cur­tains for uninformed pa­tients

The Washington Times Daily - - Metro -

groups or hos­pi­tals and the Re­source-based Rel­a­tive Value Scale for physi­cians. The AMA owns the codes that de­ter­mine whether Medi­care can pay for a pro­ce­dure, and the Ama/spe­cialty So­ci­ety Rel­a­tive Value Scale Up­date Com­mit­tee de­ter­mines how Medi­care dol­lars shall be di­vided. The com­mit­tee has a lot in com­mon with the In­de­pen­dent Pay­ment Ad­vi­sory Board.

Covert ra­tioning is ram­pant even now, though largely un­de­tected. Medi­care pa­tients can tell when their ap­point­ments are de­nied or de­layed, but can­not learn so eas­ily when they are de­nied ac­cess to care be­cause doc­tors don’t tell them it ex­ists.

Ser­vices that can’t be paid for will dis­ap­pear.

The key, unasked ques­tion, which Congress, Medi­care and the AMA are try­ing to duck, is whether Amer­i­cans have the right to spend their own money to ob­tain nec­es­sary, life­sav­ing care, even if “cov­ered” (but de­nied) by in­sur­ance. Or must they be at the mercy of the Cen­ters for Med­i­caid and Medi­care Ser­vices, the Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices, Blue Cross or other in­surer, the In­de­pen­dent Pay­ment Ad­vi­sory Board or its suc­ces­sor? May physi­cians find a way to pro­vide care that their pa­tients value and ac­cept com­pen­sa­tion, or must all med­i­cal dol­lars flow through gov­ern­ment-ap­proved gate­keep­ers?

Many Medi­care of­fi­cials, and the AMA, are act­ing as if their de­sired an­swer is no.

What makes the In­de­pen­dent Pay­ment Ad­vi­sory Board or its equiv­a­lent a death panel is not con­straints on what Medi­care may pay, but the ban on bal­ance billing or pri­vate pay­ment.

When Josef Stalin de­cided to starve Ukraine, he con­fis­cated all the food and ex­ported it to the West or de­stroyed it. He also made it a crime to buy, sell or ex­change things for food. He had a lot of peo­ple shot, but the vast ma­jor­ity sim­ply per­ished of de­pri­va­tion — the ul­ti­mate con­se­quence of so­cial­ism.

If Amer­i­cans lose the lib­erty to pro­vide for their own med­i­cal care, some will get “free” con­tra­cep­tives, abortions, men­tal health screen­ings or what­ever else the czars think they should have. Oth­ers will get the “red pill” or the “blue pill” on the way to their pre­ma­ture deaths.

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