By Dave Andrusko
National Right to Life President and Pro-Life Perspective Host Carol Tobias ends this week’s editions of PLP with a closer look at some of the issues that did not get the airing others did when the United States Supreme Court looked at ObamaCare.
One of ObamaCare’s key concepts is government-imposed limits on what Americans are permitted to spend on health care, as Mrs. Tobias explains.
“The law requires an ‘Independent Payment Advisory Board’ to devise a means of preventing that spending from keeping up with medical inflation. The Department of Health and Human Services is empowered to enforce these means by imposing so-called ‘quality’ and ‘efficiency’ standards on health care providers that would limit the treatment they are permitted to give to their patients so that the spending ceiling is not exceeded.”
Among the many surprising assertions by some of the laws supporters is that such limits would not amount to rationing life-preserving medical treatment. That dubious assertion rests on the claim that greater efficiencies in health care delivery can result in producing the same level of health care with fewer resources. “However, this claim faces a fresh round of criticism in a study published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association,” Mrs. Tobias says.
You will want to go to www.prolifeperspective to hear her entire explanation, which is quite helpful. The gist of it is that in this AMA study Canadian researchers looked at healthcare spending in Ontario hospitals, and its impact on morality and remission rates. Guess what? Patients treated at higher-spending hospitals in Canada saw better overall outcomes.
This commonsense conclusion flies in the face of the often-cited Dartmouth Atlas College research project, which maintains that American hospitals that spend more per patient do not get better results. Why is that study so crucial?
Because it allows them to get around the obvious implication—rationing–by arguing that ObamaCare would pay for the law by simply cutting billions in “wasteful health care spending,” and that there would be no negative effect on the quality of care people receive. Indeed, the Dartmouth research argues that the cut in spending will actually make people healthier!
But Mrs. Tobias notes
“In a 2010 article, the New York Times pointed to a key criticism of the compiled research writing… ‘the Atlas’s hospital rankings do not take into account care that prolongs or improves lives. If one hospital spends a lot on five patients and manages to keep four of them alive, while another spends less on each but all five die, the hospital that saved patients could rank lower because Dartmouth compares only costs before death.’”
She concludes with an important consideration:
“National Right to Life has long argued that the increasing spending on health care does not require rationing life-saving treatment. Health Care Law advocates wanted to sell the idea that by simply cutting wasteful spending, the expansion could pay for itself. This faulty and gratuitously cited Dartmouth Atlas compiled research gave them cover for that argument – cover that is quickly evaporating. However, when increased health care spending does in fact save lives and increase quality, the health care law offered no real long-term way to pay for the kind of quality care Americans have been receiving and certainly expect and deserve.”
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