And now, for something new, the Republicans say President Obama and his allies want to ration your health care. Actually, this time the old rationing argument has a slightly novel twist: Two senior senators, Mitch McConnell and John Kyl, are co-sponsoring a bill to stop rationing. As the press release from Kyl's office explains:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) and U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) today introduced legislation to prohibit the federal government from denying or delaying health-care treatment to a patient based on cost.
The Preserving Access to Targeted, Individualized, and Effective New Treatments and Services (PATIENTS) Act of 2009 would bar the federal government from using “comparative effectiveness research--a common tool used by socialized health-care systems to dictate treatment based on cost rather than effectiveness--to deny coverage of a health-care treatment or micromanage the practice of medicine
Fine, fine. But here's my question: Are Kyl and McConnell prepared to extend a similar ban to private insurers? After all, private insurers factor cost into treatment decisions all the time. Do Kyl and McConnell think that's wrong, too--that cost should never, ever be factor?
Or do they think it's o.k. when the medical directors for your friendly neighborhood HMO--operating behind closed doors and under pressure to make profits--make these decisions?
Note: I've actually submitted this question to both Kyl's and McConnell's offices. No answer yet. If I get one, I'll post it.