Government-Rationed Health Care Coming Soon

Posted: Jul 12, 2011 3:40 PM
In a Congressional hearing this week, House lawmakers will revisit the health care overhaul issue to debate a clause mandating the implementation of a cost-cutting panel in 2014 that Republicans and some Democrats believe will lead to government rationed health care.

The Obama administration asserts that the creation of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), as reported by Fox News, will effectively cut health care costs by slashing medical services they deem wasteful and superfluous.

While the administration sees the IPAB as a pragmatic way to bring down costs, it is a fallacy to presume that a panel of policymakers understands what medical tests are best suited for patients. The only people who can properly make these types of decisions are licensed physicians on a case by case basis – not government employees working on the Hill.

Furthermore, instituting the IPAB mandate -- as argued by Fox News medical expert Dr. Marc Siegel -- will directly "interfere with the art of medicine." In many cases, it takes extensive conversations and multiple consultations by a certified doctor to detect and understand why an individual is suffering. A one-size-fits-all government policy based on generalized data, as expected, will not be able to address the varying needs of individuals.

In short, if government bureaucrats are given the authority to decide what constitutes fundamental medical services, and what tests should be cut, the relationship between patients and doctors will greatly diminish. As a result, this could put our health care system on a trajectory where government employees arbitrarily and unintentionally ration medical care.

While the aim of a cost-cutting panel is benign, this policy could single-handedly devalue the sacred doctor-patient relationship and put the fate of countless Americans in the hands of unqualified bureaucrats.