House Health Care Bill Threatens Patient Care
Democratic Plan Would Erode Consumer Control Of Health Care
Washington, D.C., October 29, 2009—Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) unveiled on Thursday the Democratic Leadership’s plan for expanding government control over health care. The bill would create a government-run insurance plan, expand Medicaid, institute new taxes on insurers, medical products manufacturers, businesses, and individuals, and create subsidies for moderate-income Americans to buy insurance.
Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Gregory Conko issued the following statement today condemning the new draft of the House Democrats’ health reform bill:
The House Democrats’ health care bill is a recipe for exploding costs, and it poses a genuine threat to patient care and long-term medical innovation. The bill eliminates a substantial amount of consumer choice by dictating the benefits and prices for insurance policies, and it imposes billions of dollars worth of new taxes on the private sector. Worse still, the only mechanisms that could reduce the annual rate of health care cost inflation would erect government barriers between patients and their doctors.
The Affordable Health Care for America Act is anything but affordable. It will force millions of Americans to pay higher health insurance premiums, it taxes individuals who would like to purchase insurance options that don’t meet standards set by Washington bureaucrats, and it forces businesses and individuals to pay for insurance benefits they don’t want and don’t need.
House Democrats have also given us a bill that would create new programs designed to keep patients from receiving costly, but necessary, treatments. The revised bill stipulates that studies on the comparative effectiveness of various medical treatment options should not be considered as “mandates for payment, coverage, or treatment.” But, nothing in the bill would prevent other programs intended to eliminate wasteful medical spending from implementing these “recommendations” into physician and hospital payment practices.
Eliminating genuine waste and inefficiency from government programs is a laudable goal, but Democrats have been open about their desire to use comparative effectiveness review as a tool to control the practice of medicine. And that puts patient health at risk. Doctors know that what works for the average patient doesn’t always work for everyone. When it comes to medical treatments, doctors and patients need choices because one size definitely does not fit all.