The photo op was too good to be true. Healthcare providers trooped out of the White House and trumpeted their goal of saving $1.7 trillion of costs over the next decade in health spending. Now these drug companies, hospitals, insurance companies, medical device manufacturers, labor unions and doctors have laid out their plans in more detail.
And right there, in plain print, is the beginning of medical care rationing. Now that the cameras have been put away and the media is no longer watching, their secret emerges: They are going to cut medical costs by cutting medical care. Right now, they cite four targets. They plan to:
1. Cut diagnostic imaging tests like MRIs and CAT scans.
2. Reduce the use of antibiotics.
3. Perform fewer Caesarean sections.
4. Cut care for management of chronic back pain
These decisions will not be medical but financial. They will not be based on a doctor’s opinion of what his or her patient needs, but a bureaucrat’s and an accountant s opinion of what the new health care system can afford.
And you will not be able to bypass their rulings and pay for this care yourself. The rules laid down must be followed and private payments will not be permitted to override them. What we now call a private fee for service will metastasize into a bribe.
But this is just the very beginning of rationing. The total of health care spending now runs about $2.3 trillion a year in the United States. Over ten years, that’s likely to reach $30 trillion. So a cut of $1.7 trillion is a mere drop in the bucket.
More rationing is coming, and coming soon.
In our new book (coming out on June 23rd), "Catastrophe," we explain exactly what rationing will mean and what it has done to patient care in Canada.
It’s not a pretty picture and Obama will bring it here soon unless we stop him. Forewarned is forearmed!