ObamaCare: Prolonging Survival Not Covered: The Difference Between Guidelines and Law

ObamaCare was passed into law without specific guidelines, i.e., the details were missing on how the path to single-payer health care was to be trod via ObamaCare. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, was given full authority to fill in the blanks. With every single vote cast for the bill (all Democrat votes), the voter knew nothing of the outcome of the law – law written not by lawmakers but by an unelected bureaucrat with help from lobbyists and Marxist donors. Death panels and ObamaCare was/is one of the most concerning issues. We knew we had death panels coming, and indeed…we have death panels.

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The Oregon Health Authority (OHA)–the state agency that is bringing Oregon health plans into line with ObamaCare mandates–is promoting a guideline which states that “…treatment with intent to prolong survival is not a covered service for patients who have progressive metastatic cancer and are not able (in the view of the physician) to be helped. Palliative care is all that will be provided.” (My italics)

Does anyone recall Barack’s classic moment in 2009 when he told a daughter whose 104 year old mother was still enjoying life 5 years after getting a pacemaker that maybe Mama should have just taken a pain pill? Obama stated quite succinctly that it is just not worth spending money on the elderly.

So it has all come to pass, just as Palin and others said it would. And incredibly, the Oregon Health Authority’s “let ‘em die” guideline is in DIRECT CONFLICT with the written rules of the Affordable Care Act, “…which ensures health benefits may not be denied on the basis of expected length or quality of life.”…

But fortunately, Oregonians need not despair. For written into ObamaCare’s death panel guidelines is a codicil through which care to the critically ill might actually be provided. According to the Oregon Health Authority, “in order to qualify for treatment coverage, the patient must undergo a ‘discussion’ and, evidently if he can prove he can live anyway, then he can get treatment.”

How many times have you heard Democrats deny a small group of appointees would have the right to deny your treatment? We have law passed without guidelines. They add guidelines without a vote. It’s the new American way – the fundamental change Obama promised us he would achieve.

The ObamaCare Death Panel comes in two parts. One is The United States Preventative Services Task Force, volunteer and part-time. Just how important do you believe your health will be to these persons who already lead a busy life? Oh, and how long do you think they will remain uncompensated?

The task force is a part-time board of volunteer advisers that works slowly and is often late to incorporate new science into its recommendations. Only in 2009 did it finally recommend aspirin for the prevention of stroke and heart attack among those at risk—decades after this practice was demonstrated to save lives and had become part of standard medical practice.

The task force is also the only federal health agency to have the explicit legal authority to consider cost as one criterion in recommending whether patients should use a medical test or treatment. Over time, the task force will surely recommend against many services that patients now take for granted, while mandating full insurance coverage for things that they’d be just as happy paying for. Among the interventions that it plans to consider in 2012 are screening for hepatitis C in adults, for osteoporosis in men and for depression in children; counseling for obesity in adults and for alcohol use in adolescents; and daily aspirin for heart-attack and stroke prevention in people over 80. Source: WSJ, Dr. Scott Gottleib

The second part of death panels is The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a part of ObamaCare, is a 15-member government agency created by sections 3403 and 10320 designed to find savings in Medicare.

Members of the IPAB – presidentially nominated and Senate-confirmed – will be responsible for overseeing a half-trillion dollars in federal spending annually while “developing” detailed and specific proposals related to the Medicare program.” In short, the IPAB is charged with enforcing a limit on Medicare spending growth. Though ObamaCare prohibits the board from rationing care, the mandate to cut Medicare can lead to nothing else. Once payments to doctors are reduced, health care providers will have no choice but to limit the number of Medicare patients they see – causing seniors’ access to care to be greatly diminished or foregone completely in some instances. As David Rivkin and Elizabeth Poley astutely observe in their WSJ article, “ObamaCare’s commands to the board are thus inherently contradictory and, consequently, unintelligible.”

Perhaps the most unsettling aspect of the IPAB is the fact that it is accountable to no branch of government. Virtually removed from the Constitution’s separation-of-powers principle, members of the IPAB can only be absolved from the board for neglect or malfeasance. This enables a board in Washington – which is not required to have any training or experience in the medical profession – to make highly consequential decisions about health care delivery in our country without any real oversight or actual debate. Seniors will have no government body to turn to once the weight of the IPAB’s decisions comes to bear. Source: AMAC

Never before in American government, have we had the likes of an Independent Payment Advisory Board. To date, I haven’t been able to identify the members of IPAB – maybe because Republicans are holding strong about appropriating funds and/or submitting nominations for this vile agency. Take a look at this May 2013 letter from Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY):

IPAB takes the Medicare decision-making process away from doctors and away from Americans’ elected representatives in Congress and gives it to an unelected, unrepresentative and unaccountable advisory board. This panel is flawed and unethical–but it has total authority to make decisions regarding Medicare funding, how to implement spending cuts within the Medicare program, and how to allocate medical services.

Further, IPAB jeopardizes the quality of medical treatments and services for Medicare beneficiaries: proponents of IPAB argue that the program will improve care by reducing costs, but  in reality, by advising such reduced spending per capita, IPAB can actually result in the denial of certain medical treatments, limiting services for seniors and Americans with disabilities.

Indeed, in removing doctors and elected officials from the decision-making process and replacing them with an unelected, unaccountable panel, IPAB is a threat to all Americans on Medicare. Source: Forbes, August 2013

To date there has been no news of an IPAB mission to tackle existing fraud in Medicare or Medicaid. The focus is treatment and the denial of treatment to meet the goal. You haven’t forgotten…have you, that Obama raided Medicare by $716 BILLION to fund ObamaCare?

You didn’t believe Sarah Palin? Yesterday, a Facebook friend who has had 17 heart caths throughout his lifetime, had to endure another, and this time, for the first time, Medicare did not pay.

Linked at Blogging Dawg Style in 68 Reasons Why Obamacare Supporters are Turning Into Obamacare Opponents.

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Linked at BadBlue the baddest uncensored news 24/7 – read it all here.

Linked at Doug Ross and Larwyn’s Linx in the ObamaCare Prolonging Survival Not Covered Edition! Read more here.