The lieutenant governor of Missouri filed suit against ObamaCare on the grounds that it interferes with individual freedom and state authority. “In his lawsuit, Kinder contends the federal health care law could cause Missouri to raise state taxes to pay for the expanded Medicaid program and that it improperly affects the compensation of state officials by making changes to the state health care plan. He also contends the law is unconstitutional because he says it interferes with Missourians’ personal health care choices.”

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According to surveys, only about a third of Texas primary care doctors accept Medicaid patients, because the government-run insurance program sets very low doctor fees. Over half of the people who will become newly insured because of ObamaCare will be added to Medicaid, which means their insurance will likely not actually allow them access to medical care.

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“Administration officials argue that Republicans would have seized on any nominee as an opportunity to re-litigate the health-care debate. But Berwick offered opponents a loaded gun with his talk about rationing, his discussion of health reform as a matter of redistributing wealth, and his effusive praise for the British system. If the president wanted to buy a fight like this, he ought to have been better prepared to wage it.”

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ObamaCare’s expanded control by government will inevitably lead to rationed care. “The new law also dramatically expands Medicaid, a poorly performing welfare program with low physician reimbursement rates, and this expansion will account for roughly half of the 34 million newly insured Americans. Furthermore, the law creates an Independent Payment Advisory Board, which will recommend measures to reduce Medicare spending. Formally, the board is forbidden to make recommendations that ration care, increase revenues, or change Medicare beneficiaries’ benefits, cost-sharing, eligibility or subsidies. For the board, reimbursement for doctors and other medical professionals seems the only target left. But payment cuts can effectively ration care.”

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“The NICE precedent also undercuts the Obama Administration’s argument that vast health savings can be gleaned simply by automating health records or squeezing out “waste.” Britain has tried all of that but ultimately has concluded that it can only rein in costs by limiting care. The logic of a health-care system dominated by government is that it always ends up with some version of a NICE board that makes these life-or-death treatment decisions. The Administration’s new Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research currently lacks the authority of NICE. But over time, if the Obama plan passes and taxpayer costs inevitably soar, it could quickly gain it.”

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“Although administration officials are eager to deny it, rationing health care is central to President Barack Obama’s health plan. The Obama strategy is to reduce health costs by rationing the services that we and future generations of patients will receive.”

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When he takes control of Medicare and Medicaid, Don Berwick will begin to implement his vision of a more centralized, government-run health care system. This viewpoint is at the heart of ObamaCare, with the aim of putting Washington in charge of all health care decision-making. “Such a command-and-control vision is widespread among America’s technocratic medical left, but it is also increasingly anachronistic amid today’s breakneck medical progress.

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One of the consequences of President Obama’s recess appointment of Dr. Berwick is that he will completely avoid any scrutiny of his views on government rationing of care, especially end-of-life care. “Grassley had asked for information pertaining to sources of funding for Berwick’s Institute for Healthcare Improvement; he had also asked whether ‘Berwick had ever received funding from, been a member of, consulted with or for, or been associated in any way with Compassion and Choices, formerly known as The Hemlock Society,’ which advocates for patients’ right to choose euthanasia.”

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“Some have speculated that the White House chose to make the recess appointment because the answers to some of those questions might cause some problems for the nomination or the administration. Perhaps. But it seems more likely that the primary motivation for the recess appointment was to avoid a clear and transparent fight over the merits of the competing visions of health care reform. Dr. Berwick is an unvarnished governmentalist of the first order. The debate over his nomination would have been the perfect opportunity to present clearly to the public the consequences of handing over so much power in the health sector to the federal government.”

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“As events are now unfolding, the Massachusetts plan couldn’t be a more damning indictment of ObamaCare. The state’s universal health-care prototype is growing more dysfunctional by the day, which is the inevitable result of a health system dominated by politics.”

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