Letter: Let truth be a guiding principle
This letter is the second in response to a Public Forum letter appearing in the July 18 edition of the Tribune written by Nancy Snyder. The title of the letter was "Obamacare must be repealed."
The first letter responded to a false statement that 83 percent of doctors are considering quitting because of Obamacare. This letter will challenge the notion that the "Rationing Board and Enforcement Board" (These terms are Snyder's and not found anywhere in the law) will dictate what care doctors may and may not prescribe for patients and therefore rationing care. As with the first statement, this too is absolutely bogus.
According to the Annenberg Foundation's "Fact Check" and my own reading, many Republicans, including Snyder, have claimed the law's "Independent Payment Advisory Board" will lead to a rationing of patient care. But the purpose of the 15-member panel of doctors and medical professionals, economists and health care management experts, and representatives for consumers is to find ways to slow the growth in Medicare spending.
The "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" explicitly states that IPAB "shall not include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums ... increase Medicare beneficiary cost sharing (including deductibles, coinsurance, and co-payments), or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria." The board's recommendations, furthermore, will go before Congress, where they can be replaced with alternative cuts or rejected outright by a three-fifths majority.
The law does not call for rationing. The law explicitly prohibits it. Not only that, but in my opinion, the law will reduce rationing.
Health care in America today is being rationed on the basis of ability to pay and whether or not a person is insured. If, sometime in the future, America decides to ration care, I would certainly prefer to see it done on the basis of research-based best practice rather than on the basis of ability to pay.
Rotary International has established a code of ethics called the Four-Way Test. The first test is "Is it the truth?" Wouldn't it be nice if political debates were based on this guiding principle?
John M. Behr