A man from Doniphan, Neb. asks the following question at a recent AARP gathering:
Who will decide which tests, procedures, and medications are wasteful, inefficient, or unnecessary? In my opinion, these decisions must be made by the physician and patient. Third party interference is rationing. To say that Medicare spending will be cut by 10 per cent WITHOUT rationing is a BIG FIB.
Here's the response by David Certner, AARP legislative policy director at AARP:
We completely agree that decisions should be made by the patient and the doctor -- without the interference of government or your insurance company. Rationing is not a part of these bills, and if it were, AARP would reject it. We do believe -- and our members who have had experience with the health care system generally agree -- that health care is delivered inefficiently today, with too many wasted tests and procedures that not only do not improve health, but often harm it.
Responding to this question from Arizona, Certner goes on to talk about the real "death panels" out there: Exclusion of coverage by insurance companies for pre-existing conditions.
Mr. Certner: Do your loyalties lie with seniors' best interests or with AARP's insurance sales? I had a very bad experience with United Healthcare in 2000 when they kicked out individual policy holders. (7,500 of us in Arizona alone!) As a breast cancer survivor, I could not buy health insurance at any price. For several years I had to be without insurance -- SCARY! Needless to say, I'm extremely thankful for Medicare and I am hoping that we will pass STRINGENT regulations against discriminating for previous disease AND that we will have a public option. Without regulation, the insurance companies will stick the government with all of the "risky" people.
AARP is driven by its members best interests, as it is with every debate. We have both those who are on Medicare, and who are looking to strengthen the program, including looking to lower their costs, keep their doctors, and get better drug coverage. And as you note, we have members who are not yet eligible for Medicare, who either want to keep the insurance they have, or who are desperately trying to find insurance in the individual market. About 1 of every 4 60-year-olds can't even get insurance because of a pre-existing medical condition -- and we agree with you that this must change.
There you have it. No matter how many times the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannity's of the world falsely claim it, the government WILL NOT have a say in private health care decisions with the proposed public health care option. The proposed plan will run like Medicare currently, and the loophole in Medicare part D, the so-called doughnut hole, (or coverage gap) will be closed in the provision now included in the House bills. The proposed legislation also eliminates refusal of coverage for pre-existing conditions.
From the Washington Post