We all remember the Obama promise. The promise that, “if you like your health plan you can keep it,” promising that nothing in the health reform law would force businesses or consumers to change health plans or change their doctor.
Now that the bill is passed and the regulators are busily spinning out the estimated 20,000 pages of rules that will accompany the law, one thing is becoming crystal clear – Obama lied.
The U.S. Department of Labor, which is charged with responsibility for overseeing the health plans that private business provides its employees across the nation, reports in an Interim Final rule that 69 percent of all health plans that cover workers will not be grandfathered into the plan as early as 2013.
This simply means that up to 69 percent of the workers who have employer provided health coverage are going to be forced to change health plans and depending upon the plan, change their doctor within three years.
If you work for a small business, the Department of Labor says it will even be worse with up to 80 percent of the small business health plans going the way of the dodo.
So, you will be able to keep your health plan if you like it, so long as it is one of the 31 percent that mold themselves to the Obama appointee vision of what a health plan should look like.
In a related matter, Obama and his health care allies repeatedly assured a skeptical public that cost would not be a factor in the federal government’s health care decision making process. Now, just months after the ink on the law is dry, the Washington Post reports that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials are considering rescinding approval of the extremely expensive breast cancer treating drug Avastin due to questions on whether its benefits are worth the cost.
This is significant because Avastin is the last best hope for more than 17,000 women who are literally battling for their lives with end stages of breast cancer. Dr. Eric P. Winer, director of the Breast Oncology Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston who also serves as the Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Chief Scientific Officer is quoted in the Post as saying, “This is not a worthless drug by any means. There is almost certainly a group of women who get a big benefit.”
Should the FDA rescind approval of the drug as being beneficial to breast cancer patients, private insurers which rely on the FDA to determine which medicines to cover for different ailments will undoubtedly follow suit, leaving 17,000 women without coverage for the medicine that is their last hope of survival.
In case anyone believes that this cost cutting is targeting only women, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) has announced a review of whether to cover an innovative and expensive late stage prostate cancer treatment called Provenge, drawing the ire of oncology associations and patients alike. If CMS decides not to cover Provenge, it will mark the first time an FDA-approved therapy is not to be covered by Medicare.
As cost-based health decisions, and the forced change of health care plans begin to dominate the health care discussion, the realities of ObamaCare are beginning to take hold. It is a brave new world, where the sickest and weakest among us are deemed expendable by government decision makers because it is just too expensive to pay to give them the medicines that just might keep them alive.
Who knows? Maybe even the death panel scoffers will finally admit that when a government, rather than a doctor and patient, makes choices on medicines and their efficacy at extending quality of life, it becomes an impersonal, callous, business decision, and people are going to die after having their last hopes stripped away.
Somehow to those fighting for their lives, hospice and palliative care must seem an extremely poor substitute for life giving, but expensive medicines, even if the Donald Berwick’s of the world can’t understand it.
Rick Manning is the Communications Director of Americans for Limited Government. Americans for Limited Governmentis dedicated to putting the principles of limited government into action. They work with local groups across the nation to promote freedom, limited government, and the principles of the U.S. Constitution. Their goal is to harness the power of American citizens and grassroots groups in order to put the people back in charge in states across the country.