The Death Panels Are Coming

The Death Panels Are Coming

With Obamacare open enrollment about to begin anew, rumors of trouble in Healthcare Paradise run rampant. Enrollment has dropped to 30% below Congressional Budget Office estimates; fully 1 million of the 8.1 million people who originally signed up for Obamacare dropped out.

But Obamacare’s shoddy implementation doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of its great evil. Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber quite correctly attributed the passage of Obamcare to “lack of transparency” and the “stupidity of the American voter” – because it turns out that Obamacare will ration care, and that the most well-respected bodies in terms of health rationing have already recommended cutting off services.

The US Preventive Services Task Force is an independent body authorized by Congress to make “evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services such as screenings, counseling services, or preventive medications.” And since the onset of Obamacare discussions, the Task Force recommendations for treatment and screening have become less and less generous. In November 2009, the Task Force recommended that mammography for women every other year between the ages of 50 and 74. They admit that they have insufficient information to suggest that it would be fruitless to screen after 74, and they say that case-by-case screenings should take place before 50.

The Mayo Clinic, by contrast, recommends annual mammograms for women above age 40; so too does the American Cancer Society. As Dr. Sandhya Pruthi of the Mayo Clinic writes, “Findings from a large study in Sweden of women in their 40s who underwent screening mammograms showed a decrease in breast cancer deaths by 29 percent.”

Then there are colonoscopies: the Task Force recommends against routine colonoscopies for adults 76 to 85 years of age, and recommends against screening at all beyond age 85. The American Cancer Society and American College of Gastroenterology, by contrast, do not give an age limit for colonoscopies. Medicare, coincidentally, happens not to cover CT colonography but fully covers colonoscopies. A great way to cut costs: tell doctors not to give colonoscopies.

How about prostate cancer? The USPSTF completely recommends against prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening for prostate cancer. Every other major organization says that patients should make that decision with their doctor; the Mayo Clinic recommends “offering PSA screening and DRE annually to men ages 50 to 75 with a life expectancy greater than 10 years.”

The USPSTF recommendations are just that: recommendations. But as the Annals of Family Medicine reports, Obamacare “reinforces the ability of the secretary of the [Department of Health and Human Services] to add services to Medicare that were not given a D rating by the USPSTF. It also authorizes the secretary to remove preventive services not given an A, B, C, or I rating by the USPSTF.”

So get ready, folks. Care may soon reflect the standards of the USPSTF. And that means that rationing of care is coming, and soon.

Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.




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