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Reality Check on the “Reality Check” – Rationing 08/13/2009

Posted by Leona Dawnfire in Government, Health Care.
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WhiteHouse.gov has posted a series of videos about the Health Care Bill labeled as “Reality Check,” supposedly debunking the concerns of the American people.

In the above video, Kavita Patel, a physician who works with a Senior Advisor to President Obama, “proves” that the new health care plan will not cause the rationing of health care. Apparently, the fact that she works for Obama and that she is a physician is enough “trust her.”

Patel begins by reading two emails. The first states that the sender does not believe that the government should run health care because the cost is simply too high and that it would be a “bureaucratic nightmare for patients.” Patel does not address either of these two major issues and goes on to read a second email, which asks, “How are you going to insure that rationing of services does not occur?”

Patel never answers this question.

Instead, she states that rationing is already happening. She says that health insurance companies are discussing, right now, what services you can and cannot have.

This is an outright lie, and everyone should know it.

Health insurance companies do not control what services you can receive – they only control what, and how much, they will pay for it based on a pre-existing contract.

For example, if you go to the emergency room with symptoms of a heart attack, you will get the tests, treatments, and even surgeries you need, sometimes all before the health insurance company even knows that you’ve had a heart attack. (In Canada or the UK, you’re still waiting for the serious medical treatment you need to save your life.) The health insurance company looks at their contract with you and pays the hospital a certain amount, depending on what the contract covers. This is, in no way, “rationing health care.”

Another example – you want cosmetic surgery just because you hate the look of your nose. You ask your health insurance company to pay for it, and they refuse because cosmetic surgery does not fit under the contract you have with them. You are not being denied the surgery – you just have to pay out-of-pocket.

There is no rationing or denying of care in either of these instances. So Patel’s side-step from the real question is a complete lie. That does not do much for my trust in her.

Patel then moves on to talk about the “rumor” that the government is going to take over health care. Her “proof” that this is not true is that “President Obama has said time and time again that if you like your insurance, if you like the kind of health care that you have right now, and the plan you have, you can keep it.”

Okay…first off, a quote from the President who is continually caught lying (most recently about AARP supporting the health care bill) is far from proof, or even evidence, that the government is not taking over health care.

All right, if you have health insurance that you like, you can keep it – right? Obama said so, it must be true. Or maybe false.

If your employer changes to the government plan because it’s cheaper (which it will be, especially since we’re all paying for it anyway), you can’t keep your insurance. Oh, and neither can your children after a certain age anyway. Oh, and according the the House of Representatives version of the Health Care bill, there is a “Limitation on New Enrollment” on page 16 that states:

“the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first
day of Y1.”

And this garble translates into:

“the insurance providers outside the government that offer health care insurance cannot enroll any person in such coverage if the first date that the person would be covered is after the date this bill is signed and goes into effect.”

To paraphrase further, the proposed Health Care bill makes private insurance illegal.

All right, so Patel didn’t completely lie. She just went around the truth by saying “If you like it, you can keep it.” Which is true if you already have it, and you’re self-employed.

And after all this, Patel says, “Trust me.”

Do you trust her?

She says that “The reality right now is that there is wide-spread rationing in the form of health insurance telling you what you can and can’t have.”

This is an outright, obvious lie.

“Make sure that the reality and the myths [about health care] are explained.”

Because you did so well at doing that. Except that you side-stepped the question, overtly lied, and never gave any sort of evidence that rationing won’t happen under the government health care plan.

Do you trust this government?