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WASHINGTON (February 28, 2007)—Under pressure from liberal special-interest groups with names like “Democracy 21,” “OMB Watch,” and “Public Citizen,” U.S. House Democratic leaders may soon push for enactment of legislation that could seriously impede the ability of issue-oriented groups—such as NRLC and NRLC-affiliated organizations—to communicate effectively with both the general public and with government officials.
“These restrictive proposals are being advanced under cover of innocuous-sounding labels such as ‘ethics reform’ and ‘lobbying reform,’ but they are really aimed at making policymakers less accountable to ordinary citizens and grassroots-based citizen groups,” said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson. “The groups pushing for these restrictions want lawmakers and other government officials to be more responsive to pressure from certain elites, including bosses of liberal foundations, the pro-abortion mainstream news media, and powerful congressional committee chairmen,.”
Medicare Was Saved from Rationing—
Editor’s note: Since its inception, the National Right to Life Committee has been equally concerned with protecting older people and people with disabilities from euthanasia as with protecting the unborn from abortion. We have recognized that involuntary denial of lifesaving medical treatment is a form of involuntary euthanasia, and therefore have opposed government rationing of health care. In 1997 and 2003, NRLC successfully fought to amend Medicare by allowing older people the right to use their own money to obtain unrationed care; shockingly, under the new leadership of Congress that right is now at risk. Here’s the background:
Most people are aware that Medicare—the government program that provides health insurance to older people in the United States—faces grave fiscal problems as the baby boom generation ages.
Medicare is financed by payroll taxes, which means that those now working are paying for the health care of those now retired. As the baby boom generation moves from middle into old age, the proportion of the retired population will increase, while the proportion of the working population will decrease. The consequence is that the amount of money available for each Medicare beneficiary, when adjusted for health care inflation, will shrink.
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Vol. 34, No. 2
From the President
THE THREAT OF HEALTH CARE RATIONING &
Last month we considered the demographic, political, and cultural trends that threaten our own right to life—especially as we approach old age. Now we need to look in more detail at the political trends.
The threat here is two-fold: (1) a movement to repeal current provisions in the law that allow Medicare recipients to add their own funds to a government contribution in order to purchase private, un-rationed, and unmanaged health insurance, (a topic for another column); and (2) attempts to have the government—not your insurance company—“negotiate” the price of the drugs purchased from the pharmaceutical industry.
As to the latter, Congress already has already taken the first steps. On January 12, 2007, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4 by a vote of 255 to 170. (Twenty-nine votes short of a veto-proof majority.) H.R. 4 would make government the sole agent “negotiating” with the pharmaceutical industry about drug prices for Medicare’s Part D.
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