Seniors: Beware the Medicare Commission

Some continue to gloss over Obamacare’s impact on seniors, calling the “death panels” voiced by Sarah Palin ridiculous. Think again. The Wall Street Journal published a compelling editorial on November 15 titled “The Rationing Commission.” The subtitle says it all: “Meet the unelected body that will dictate future medical decisions.”

It’s all about the money. The various bills before the Congress will in differing ways decide how much money will be spent on health care for seniors each year. An unelected board selected by the President, the Medicare Commission, is given enormous powers to decide what coverage seniors will have and who will pay for it with little oversight by Congress.

According to the Journal, the state of Washington already has such a board. “So far, the commission has banned knee arthroscopy for osteoarthritis, discography for chronic back pain, and implantable infusion pumps for pain not related to cancer. This year, it is targeting such frivolous luxuries as knee replacements, spinal cord stimulation, a specialized autism therapy and MRIs of the abdomen, pelvis or breasts for cancer. It will also rule on routine ultrasounds for pregnancy…” The state commission is even dictating what kind of stents can be used for heart patients.

The path being followed is one of Europe’s creations — a so-called “global budget.” One economist has compared the global budget to “bombing from 35,000 feet, where you don’t see the faces of the people you kill.” White House budget director Peter Orszag stated that the Medicare Commission is “critical to our fiscal future” and “one of the most potent reforms.”

Seniors, beware. As stated numerous times before, you have every reason to be afraid.

You can read the full editorial here.

Barbara Lyons

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