The Senate health care bill has a strange loophole in it…

The Senate health care bill has a strange loophole in it…

What was that about no rationing? Death panels being an exaggeration?

It turns out that there’s a funny little loophole in the Senate health care bill. This loophole would allow insurers to place limits on medical expenses to treat costly illnesses — you know, like cancer and stuff.

A loophole in the Senate health care bill would let insurers place annual dollar limits on medical care for people struggling with costly illnesses such as cancer, prompting a rebuke from patient advocates.

The legislation that originally passed the Senate health committee last summer would have banned such limits, but a tweak to that provision weakened it in the bill now moving toward a Senate vote.

As currently written, the Senate Democratic health care bill would permit insurance companies to place annual limits on the dollar value of medical care, as long as those limits are not “unreasonable.” The bill does not define what level of limits would be allowable, delegating that task to administration officials.

… “The primary purpose of insurance is to protect people against catastrophic loss,” Finan said. “If you put a limit on benefits, by definition it’s going to affect people who are dealing with catastrophic loss.” The cost of cancer treatment can exceed $100,000 a year.

Under the health care bills in Congress, the major expansion of health insurance coverage won’t take place until three to four years after enactment. Democrats have touted a series of consumer protections as immediate benefits Americans will secure through the legislation. Both the Senate and House bills, for example, ban lifetime limits on the dollar value of coverage.

But Finan said the change in the Senate bill essentially invalidates the legislation’s ban on lifetime limits.

“If you can have annual limits, saying there’s no lifetime limits becomes meaningless,” he said. A patient battling aggressive disease in its later stages could conceivably exhaust insurance benefits in the course of a year.

I believe we can call this the first step towards rationing.

Someone who is battling an aggressive form of cancer — like, for instance, pancreatic cancer — may not even have a year. So if they run out of insurance benefits in a few months because the treatment they need is a rarer form of cancer treatment (which usually means more costly), then they have that much less of a chance to live. Telling someone they are only allowed a limited amount of money to fight “costly illnesses” is dangerous and frankly, wrong. You cannot put a price on someone’s life.

What’s worse, apparently the people who decide what the benefits cut-off will be are merely “administration officials”. So government bureaucrats will get to decide how much money you get to use in your fight against cancer? Does anyone really want Obama’s administration officials deciding how much money you get if you get diagnosed with brain cancer, or get in a car accident and end up needing costly surgeries to save your life?

We would inevitably be seeing cases like this one, with patients being denied treatment — and heaven forbid doctor-assisted suicide is an option, because if it is, the government will have no problem paying for you to hurry up and die. The Oregon Health Plan does just that, and explained why they won’t pay for treatment, but will pay for you to die:

Dr. Walter Shaffer, medical director of the state Division of Medical Assistance Programs, which administers the Oregon Health Plan, attempted to defend the health plan’s decision. “We can’t cover everything for everyone,” he said. “We try to come up with polices that provide the most good for the most people.” Shaffer then addressed a priority list that had been developed to ration health care. “There’s some desire on the part of the framers of this list to not cover treatments that are futile,” he said, “or where the potential benefit to the patient is minimal in relation to the expense of providing the care.”

That’s exactly what we will see happen if Obama’s government run health care passes. You can see the proof in the fact that the Senate is willing to let anonymous bureaucrats decide how much money is allowed to be spent on treatment for unnamed costly illnesses. Some bureaucrat who isn’t a doctor, who doesn’t know you, and doesn’t want to waste money on your pathetic life will decide that you don’t deserve treatment, because to them, it is futile. If you get a brain tumor, and treatment is too expensive, then they won’t care if that treatment is your only chance to live. Your life is worth nothing to them. Why should they care? Treating cancer can cost tens of thousands of dollars a month. Letting you just waste away and die costs nothing.

Thankfully, opposition to this monstrosity is rising. Rasmussen is reporting that 56% of voters now oppose the health care bill, with 46% strongly opposing it. This is compared to the 19% of voters who strongly favor it, and only 38% of voters who favor it at all. Opposition is at its highest ever, while support is at its lowest. More and more Democrats are feeling the pressure and are refusing to vote for it. Harry Reid is getting more and more desperate, but if the public keeps getting information about this bill, they’re just going to like it less and less.

After all, who on Earth wants rationed health care? No one wants to fear that if they get cancer, they won’t be able to get the best quality treatment available because the health care reform that was passed screwed them. But that’s exactly what will happen. It’s why members of Congress have conveniently made it so that they are exempt from participating in the health care reform. It’s simple. They don’t want to have to suffer under rationed health care, but it’s perfectly fine for us, isn’t it?

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