Rationing healthcare is a bugaboo in the healthcare debate.
Opponents say Obama’s reforms will ration healthcare, limiting or denying your access to the treatments you need. Some have coined the term “ObamaCare”—a pejorative label meant to invoke images of Big Brother trampling on your rights.
The White House says reform will stop rationing, not increase it. A short video on its “Healthcare Reform Reality Check” web site debunks the myth that reform means rationing.
The thought of rationing is hateful if you, a member of your family, or a friend need medical treatment. If something can help, or might help, we want it. Rationing is for someone else.
The truth is rationing healthcare happens all the time. Health insurance companies ration healthcare when they decide who qualifies for coverage and who doesn’t. Denying insurance due to pre-existing conditions is an example. Private hospitals that close their emergency departments so they don’t have to take in indigent patients are rationing healthcare. These are profit-making businesses, so I can’t fault them.
When I think of rationing, I think of a close relative who suffers from Hepatitis C, contracted during a blood transfusion. He was the top producer in the company he worked for, but was fired so the company could avoid having its insurance rates raised due to costly medications and an eventual liver transplant. He sought the advice of counsel, who told him the company was blatantly in the wrong and could be sued—but the company would draw out the legal proceedings and my relative would be dead long before the suit was settled.
Now that’s rationing.
So, the question isn’t rationing. It’s who does the rationing and by what criteria.
What do you think? Do you agree with what I’m arguing here?
Due you fear rationing?
Or, is it a bugaboo trotted out to confuse the issues and muddy the debate?
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