In recent weeks, the Democrats have said that people with an acceptable health care plan could keep their insurance. That’s been frequently disputed and refuted on the Right Blogosphere. Nonetheless, for the sake of this discussion, let’s stipulate that it hasn’t been refuted.
We’ve also heard Democrats say that they don’t want anything or anyone to step in between the patient and their physician. In Section 122 of HR 3200, they list the things that must be covered to be considered a “qualified health benefits plan.” Here’s what must be included to qualify for a “qualified health benefits plan”:
Minimum Services To Be Covered- The items and services described in this subsection are the following:
(2) Outpatient hospital and outpatient clinic services, including emergency department services.
(3) Professional services of physicians and other health professionals.
(4) Such services, equipment, and supplies incident to the services of a physician’s or a health professional’s delivery of care in institutional settings, physician offices, patients’ homes or place of residence, or other settings, as appropriate.
(5) Prescription drugs.
(6) Rehabilitative and habilitative services.
(7) Mental health and substance use disorder services.
(8) Preventive services, including those services recommended with a grade of A or B by the Task Force on Clinical Preventive Services and those vaccines recommended for use by the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
(9) Maternity care.
(10) Well baby and well child care and oral health, vision, and hearing services, equipment, and supplies at least for children under 21 years of age.
That isn’t the end of the qualifications. Here’s a section that bothers me:
(1) IN GENERAL- There is established a private-public advisory committee which shall be a panel of medical and other experts to be known as the Health Benefits Advisory Committee to recommend covered benefits and essential, enhanced, and premium plans.
(2) CHAIR- The Surgeon General shall be a member and the chair of the Health Benefits Advisory Committee.
(3) MEMBERSHIP- The Health Benefits Advisory Committee shall be composed of the following members, in addition to the Surgeon General:
(A) 9 members who are not Federal employees or officers and who are appointed by the President.
(B) 9 members who are not Federal employees or officers and who are appointed by the Comptroller General of the United States in a manner similar to the manner in which the Comptroller General appoints members to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission under section 1805(c) of the Social Security Act.
(C) Such even number of members (not to exceed 8) who are Federal employees and officers, as the President may appoint.
In other words, H.R. 3200 establishes a bureaucracy that regulates the definition of a Qualified Health Benefits Plan.
If Democrats wanted nothing getting between a patient and their physician, why is there such a list of federally-imposed regulations on what is or isn’t a qualified health benefits plan? One possible answer is that they want this commission to establish what isn’t a qualified policy. That way, the gutless politicians can claim that they didn’t push people into the public option, that they passed well-intentioned legislation, then blame ‘Washington bureaucrats’ for the mess that they created.
For years, conservatives have been pushing cafeteria-style plans that let a patient and their physician sit down and figure out what coverages are high priorities and which coverages are less important. The health care consumer then figures out what their budget is and buys a policy that fits him/her and their family best.
That’s something that I discussed with Paul Ryan in this post:
2. Shouldnâ€™t people, working in concert with their physician, have the option of putting together a customized health insurance policy?
Yes â€“ thatâ€™s a great idea and just the type of innovative thinking we donâ€™t want the federal government to squash. Patients have different needs, and thatâ€™s exactly why health insurance shouldnâ€™t be run by the federal government. The government does not know what is best for patients. Patients and doctors should be able to make decisions together about the types of health plans that best suit their individual needs. That concept is exactly what motivated the Patientsâ€™ Choice Act. We donâ€™t want the federal government taking over these decisions, and we want to show people that there is another way that allows the individual to maintain control over these personal decisions.
It’s never been the Democrats’ goal to eliminate obstacles that get in the way of the doctor-patient relationship. It’s been about controlling people’s lives. Democrats are, by nature, control freaks. I don’t say that vindictively. It’s purely observational. That’s why they love putting massive amounts of mandates into every bit of legislation they write. It’s genetic.
Republicans are fighting to give people lots of options, including a custom-built policy that the health care consumer and their physician put together. The Democrats are pushing for a regulation-infested plan that limits options, inflates the deficit and that pushes people into rationing.
Which sounds more appealing to you? Make your voices heard because now’s the time for choosing.
Cross-posted at California Conservative