If the government pays for someone’s medical care, then a government committee must decide who will live and who will die.
Yes, Virginia, there really are death panels.
This is beginning to dawn on some Democrats.
Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank recently co-sponsored H.R. 452, joining California’s Joe Baca and Loretta Sanchez, New York’s Timothy Bishop, Pennsylvania’s Chaka Fattah and 10 other Democrats. This measure, introduced by Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., a physician, would terminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board. Dubbed “the real death panel” by critics, the IPAB would commence in 2014. Its 15 appointed members would control Medicare costs, essentially by rationing care. Its recommendations would become federal law unless Congress adopted other means to match or exceed its spending cuts. Alternatively, 60 senators could refuse IPAB’s advice — no small task.
Frank spokesman Diego Sanchez says that his boss’ opposition to IPAB has been “consistent and firm.” On Jan. 15, 2010, Frank — along with California’s Pete Stark, Georgia’s John Lewis and dozens of other stalwart Democrats — signed a letter to then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., spurning “legislation that would place authority for Medicare payment policy in an unelected, executive branch commission or board.”
This is hopeless. If an agency supplies the money, it cannot avoid responsibility for determining how the money will be used. He who pays the piper calls the tune. This includes health insurance or long-term care insurance.
Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., asked the Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Budget Office to find replacements for Obamacare’s individual mandate, its most constitutionally dodgy provision. “I never thought the mandate was a particularly good way to do it,” he told Politico.com. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., also frets about the mandate. “There’s (sic) other ways we can get people into the pool — I hope — other than a mandate, and we need to look at that,” she told MSNBC.
Somebody must pay. The government must decide: Who pays? How much? There is coercion involved. But at least some Democrats oppose this mandate.
Last spring, for instance, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat, filed a friend-of-the-court brief backing anti-Obamacare litigation filed by Florida and 25 other states.
“If Congress can force activity under the Commerce Clause, then it could force individuals to receive vaccinations or annual checkups, undergo mammogram or prostate exams, or maintain a specific body mass,” argues Koster’s brief in the case that the Supreme Court will hear in March.
He’s got it!
Missourians voted 71 percent to 29 percent on Aug. 3, 2010, to prohibit any law that compels “any person, employer or health-care provider to participate in any health-care system.” This anti-mandate initiative won nearly 100,000 votes from citizens who did not cast Republican ballots in that day’s primary election. “When one in six Democratic primary voters decides they want the state of Missouri to defend them from the signature issue of the Democratic Party, you’ve got a recipe for electoral disaster,” RedState.com concluded.
This opposition is spreading.
But the longer the existing law stays on the books, the more committed special-interest voting blocs will be to keeping it on the books.