WASHINGTON – Senator Pat Roberts (R-Ks) today introduced the “Repeal Rationing in Support of Life Act,” which targets the four key rationing components of Obamacare identified in a March 6, 2014, report by the National Right to Life Committee’s Powell Center for Medical Ethics, “The Affordable Care Act and Health Care Access in the United States,” available at www.nrlc.org/communications/healthcarereport.
“Senator Pat Roberts, who has been a tireless campaigner for the right to life, has since 2009 repeatedly taken a leadership role in fighting rationing of life-saving medical treatment, food, and fluids,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “Although Americans are waking up to many of its flaws, too few are aware of what Senator Roberts has consistently highlighted – how Obamacare limits the right to use one’s own money to get health insurance less likely to deny life-preserving health care.”
The Roberts bill targets four rationing provisions of Obamacare for repeal:
1) the “excess benefit” tax coming into effect in 2018,
2) the current exclusion of adequate health insurance plans from the exchanges,
3) present limits on senior citizens’ ability to add their own money on top of the government Medicare payment for health insurance in Medicare Advantage, and
4) federal limits on the care doctors give their patients to be implemented as soon as 2016.
Excess benefits tax. Starting in 2018, Obamacare will impose a 40% excise tax on employer-paid health insurance premiums above a governmentally imposed limit that does not keep up with medical inflation. Consequently, insurance companies will be forced to impose increasingly severe restraints on policy-holders’ access to diagnostic tests and treatment—limits that will make it harder to get often-expensive treatments essential to combatting life-threatening illnesses. “Keeping employers from spending relatively little more to buy better insurance impacts us all, not just their employees,” stated Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life. “When those who can afford to spend more on health insurance are prevented from doing so, it severely dampens the costly research and development that gives those at all income levels access to innovative drugs and treatments that improve the ability to save lives and improve health.”
Excluding Insurers from Exchanges. Under Obamacare, consumers using the exchanges may only choose plans offered by insurers who do not allow their customers to spend what government bureaucrats deem an “excessive or unjustified” amount for their health insurance. “We are already seeing most exchange plans deny access to top specialists and medical centers,” Culp noted, “but few reports explain this is because insurers who provide greater access to care are excluded from the exchanges.”
Medicare Limits. Most senior citizens know that Obamacare will cut half a trillion dollars for Medicare over a decade, but they may not be aware of the law’s provision allowing Washington bureaucrats to prevent them from making up the Medicare shortfall with their own funds by limiting their right to spend their own money to obtain insurance through Medicare Advantage less likely to limit treatments that could save their lives.
Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). IPAB is directed to recommend measures to limit spending on health care to a growth rate below medical inflation – not just for Medicare, but also for all private, nongovernmental health care spending. The federal Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) is then authorized to implement these measures by placing limits on the treatments providers may give their patients by imposing so-called “quality and efficiency standards.”
“Obamacare authorizes Washington bureaucrats to create one uniform, national standard of care that is designed to limit what private citizens are allowed to spend to save their own lives,” stated Culp. “We are convinced most Americans do not believe that the government should limit the right of Americans to use their own money for health insurance that is adequate to save their lives. We commend Senator Roberts for his bill and his consistent leadership to end Obamacare’s rationing. ”
The report is available from the National Right to Life Communications Department here: www.nrlc.org/communications/healthcarereport.
Burke Balch, J.D., director of the Powell Center for Medical Ethics and Jennifer Popik, J.D. legislative counsel of the Powell Center for Medical Ethics are available to provide analysis and further commentary. To arrange an interview, please contact the National Right to Life Communications Department at (202) 626-8825 or [email protected]
Founded in 1968, National Right to Life, the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation's oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, NRLC works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.
Video from the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 of Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Ks.) introducing the "Repeal Rationing in Support of Life Act."