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U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)

Kansas’ U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts has taken a leadership role in battling government restrictions on health care and to that end, on Tuesday filed the “Repeal Rationing in Support of Life Act,” see video here.

This is the third in a series of bills, part of a comprehensive effort by Sen. Roberts, to prevent the federal government from limiting access to life-saving medical care for patients at all stages of life.

“Obamacare has made many Americans fearful that cost-cutting and rationing of care will limit their options for health care at a time when they are vulnerable–when they are sick or battling a life threatening condition,” Roberts said. “By introducing this bill, we are fighting against hidden barriers to treatment and life-saving medicine.”

Roberts’ bill targets four rationing provisions of Obamacare for repeal:

1) the “excess benefit” tax coming into effect in 2018, which unfairly limits employee plans from keeping pace with medical inflation;
2) the current exclusion of adequate health insurance plans from the exchanges;
3) limits now curtailing senior citizens’ ability to add their own money in addition to Medicare payment for health insurance including Medicare Advantage; and
4) federal limits on the care doctors are allowed to give their patients.

Roberts’ legislation (see bill details here) is endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee, which has delineated rationing dangers in Obamacare in this NRLC report and in a recent Q & A article here.

Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, stated, “Obamacare authorizes Washington bureaucrats to create one uniform, national standard of care that is designed to limit what private citizens are allowed to spend to save their own lives. We commend Senator Roberts for his bill and his consistent leadership to end Obamacare’s rationing.”

The bill is cosponsored by Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).

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Obamacare grants HHS head, Kathleen Sebelius, powers

Obamacare grants HHS head, Kathleen Sebelius, unprecedented powers

We strongly urge you to read– in full– this excellent analysis of the built-in rationing in Obamacare, from Carol Tobias, president of our national affiliate. Learn the facts and help spread the word!
(Note, the Sebelius graphic is KFL’s addition.)

                  Yes, It Is Rationing
Dec. 2, 2013, Washington, D.C. —  “It’s four years overdue, but America is finally beginning to have the debate about Obamacare we were promised. Barack Obama had assured us – another in his long series of broken promises – that the meetings held to devise the plan would be televised on C-SPAN.  Americans would have every opportunity to know what the law is, and how it would affect them.

That never happened.  The law was put together behind closed doors.  Nancy Pelosi later arrogantly told us “we have to pass the law so you can know what’s in it.” Now we’re finding out.

National Right to Life was a lone early voice exposing how the law would cause rationing of life-saving care.  But Obamacare supporters have mocked the claim.  Their standard line has been “the ACA is designed to expand coverage, not reduce it.”

But that’s only one part of the law. Central to this overhaul of our healthcare system is a harsh regime of rationing – denial of care.  And it’s finally being admitted.

Americans don’t yet realize the law will prevent you from spending your own money to get treatments deemed “ineffective” in an Orwellian way by the unelected, largely unaccountable IPAB board.

Last summer, former Vermont governor, Democratic presidential candidate, physician and Obamacare supporter Howard Dean made headlines when he spilled the beans.  The Independent Payment Advisory Board set up by Obamacare, Dean said, was “essentially a health care rationing board.”

Further clarification about the role of this board, known as IPAB, came in a series of interviews and tweets last week by Time magazine Senior Political Analyst Mark Halperin.  Coming from an avowed supporter of universal coverage, as Halperin is, the interviews were very instructive, containing insights every American should know.

Halperin first discussed rationing on a November 25th Newsmax TV program.  “It’s built into the plan.  It’s not like a guess or like a judgment.  That’s going to be part of how costs are controlled.”

Later that day, Halperin clarified in a tweet that his comments were not about so-called “death panels,” as the show’s host had termed it, but about rationing.  This is an important distinction for pro-lifers to understand so we (unlike Obama) are completely clear and honest about what the Affordable Care Act does when we discuss it with others.

“Death Panels” vs. broad government-generated rationing in the ACA

The British National Health Service (NHS) has appeals committees to review “individual funding requests.”  They meet to determine whether treatments in a specific case will or won’t be paid for by the government health care system, NHS.  These have sometimes been termed “death panels” because if a patient needs a treatment to save or extend his life and can’t afford to pay for it himself, a verdict of “no” by the committee means the patient could die – hence, the term “death panel.”

Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) will not operate this way.  It won’t review individual cases; in fact, the law is written to preclude this type of direct rationing.  That’s why some Obamacare supporters protest that the law actually bars IPAB from rationing.

But Obamacare actually gives IPAB far more power to ration than if it was acting as judge and jury to individual patients. Broadly speaking, IPAB is given sweeping powers to recommend to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) whether and how whole categories of treatments are to be reimbursed — and is required to use these powers to prevent overall health care spending from being allowed even to keep up with medical inflation. Thus, they can (in fact, it is their job to) limit reimbursement and ration care from thousands or millions of people at a time.

For example, IPAB might decide that a new, promising treatment for breast cancer is not “cost-effective,” given the board’s calculation of the number of lives it might save versus the cost to offer the treatment.  HHS might then issue a “quality measure” binding on health care providers that does not authorize use of the treatment.

Effectively, HHS would have the power to drive most doctors out of business if they ignore its directives to ration.  Women who might have been saved by the new treatment would die if the older, cheaper treatments don’t cure them.

Halperin was open about the law’s intention to ration in a follow-up interview on CNBC last Tuesday.

“Those decisions that are made by that board are going to lead to what I think could be described perfectly reasonably as rationing, “ Halperin said.  “Again, as I said, that’s built into the system.”

“The Independent Payment Advisory Board, which is a big part of the Affordable Care Act that is central to cost control, is something that hasn’t been debated in a real way . . . we need to have that debate in this country.”

Currently, if an insurance company, doctor or hospital denies you a treatment or payment for a treatment, you have several options.  States have insurance commissions to which you have a right to appeal payment denials by insurance companies.  You can go to another doctor or hospital to get care.

Under Obamacare, these avenues will be largely closed off to you and your loved ones.  If the government says you can’t get a treatment, your current ability to appeal to a government body will be curtailed.  And Americans don’t yet realize the law will prevent you from spending your own money to get treatments deemed in an Orwellian way “ineffective” by the unelected, largely unaccountable IPAB board.

That makes it absolutely critical that National Right to Life inform Americans, warn Americans, empower Americans to overturn this law that will be so deadly to so many of their loved ones – and ultimately to many of us.  Please take the time to see one way we’re spreading the truth about Obamacare rationing at www.nrlc.org/medethics/healthcarerationing.

And please help National Right to Life fight this life-and-death battle with a generous donation today.  Perhaps you can afford a substantial gift of $1,000 or $500 – such a contribution will help us get the word out to the public and public officials alike about what this law does to innocent human lives and why it must be overturned.

Your gifts of $100, $50 or $35, combined with those of thousands of other concerned Americans, can have the same effect.  Let’s not let it be said that we didn’t fight back with everything we have to overturn those policies and save these lives!

tobiasThank you – you are literally a Lifesaver!”
Carol Tobias, National Right to Life President

Forward this message to a friend.

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Pro-Life Action League envelopes NARAL supporter headed to hear Sebelius (photo by Matt Yonke)

Yesterday at a Chicago NARAL fundraiser, 300 attendees gave some of their loudest applause (according to the AP) to HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ mention of the Obama administration mandate that health insurance plans cover birth control without copays.

But beyond the ever faithful pro-life presence of the Pro-Life Action League, another rebuke to Sebelius was today’s good news that the U.S. House will be voting next week on a pro-life bill to UNDO abortion in Obamacare.

HR 358 the “Protect Life Act” is sponsored by Congressman Joe Pitts, and co-sponsored by all four Kansas U.S. Representatives:  Tim Huelskamp, 1st district; Lynn Jenkins, 2nd district; Kevin Yoder, 3rd district; and Mike Pompeo, 4th district. Express your support here.

UPDATE,Oct.13: In a 248-173 vote, the House approved the Protect Life Act, however Senate Democrats oppose it and President Obama has promised to veto it.

Modeled on the former “Stupak-Pitts” amendment, HR 358 would correct the numerous abortion-expanding provisions kept in the final health care law and contains important conscience protections for (more…)

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KS US Reps Huelskamp, Jenkins, Pompeo, Yoder (photo Alton/CJOnline)

U.S. Congressional reps Tim Huelskamp (1), Lynn Jenkins (2), Kevin Yoder (3), and Mike Pompeo (4) have been voting 100% pro-life for Kansans.  All 4 voted Wednesday for a successful cut-off of abortion-training and protection of medical rights of conscience.

The U.S. House of Representatives today adopted, 234-182, a pro-life amendment offered by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R- NC) and backed by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC).(details here)

The amendment sets up conscience protections for “teaching health centers” (THCs) that receive certain federal funds for graduate medical education; it (more…)

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Douglas Johnson: fed law "abortion truth-detector"

Under Obamacare, states were supposed to start setting up insurance health “exchanges” by January 2013.

Individual states were to be allowed to keep abortion out of their state exchange, and Kansas lawmakers have prepared legislation to insure our future exchange would be abortion-free.

Even then, Kansas taxpayers would be paying for abortions in other state insurance exchanges.

To prevent that, NRLC federal legislation director, Douglas Johnson, testified Wednesday to a House Subcommittee that the “Protect Life Act” (H.R. 358) will correct Obamacare direct abortion subsidies, as well as provisions for abortion-expanding administrative mandates.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the “Protect Life Act” out of committee on Friday.

Johnson, has been the truth detector on Obamacare, blowing the whistle on how its first implementation– insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions– paid for abortions. (HHS later removed that coverage, which can be reversed anytime.)

But two recent developments present significant obstacles to the entire Obamacare law!

  1. A ruling for a lawsuit on behalf of 26 states (including Kansas) by Judge Roger Vinson said the entire Obamacare program must be scrapped because the mandate to buy insurance is unconstitutional and there’s no severability clause to save the rest. Utah has now decided it is not bound by Obamacare.
  2. Gov. Sam Brownback and 19 other governors have sent a letter this week to HHS warning they may ignore the exchange mandate.  This move affects millions of dollars in “innovation” grants that Kansas’ (pro-abortion) Insurance Commissioner Sandi Praeger was deeply involved in.

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Lawmakers gathered at the Statehouse Monday for swearing-in ceremonies were excited about the change in tone this year and told our KFL lobbyists they are revved up to work.

Much of the positivity is set by newly sworn-in Gov. Sam Brownback’s promise to sign pro-life bills, as well as his high aspirations for Kansas.  3 of the top action priorities for his administration’s Protect Kansas Families agenda are pro-life goals:

  • Support and defend the dignity of human life;
  • Increase adoptions;
  • Protect health insurance options.

The first 2 goals have been perennial for Kansans for Life, the third has gained increased importance after the passage of Obamacare.   New Attorney General, Derek Schmidt, announced that the state (more…)

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Update, Jan.5: Obamacare death panels removed after pro-life backlash.

The euthanasia watchdogs at LifeTree.com released disturbing news Friday that the Sebelius-led HHS is reinstating mandatory end-of-life counseling in the implementation of Obamacare.

After the public outcry last summer about such counselingcalled ‘pulling the plug on granny‘– the offending section was removed.

Smart observers, conservative and liberal, recognize that government single-payer insurance (like that of Canada and the U.K.) will necessarily search for mechanisms to reduce the number of medically-expensive elderly and disabled.

Such is the preoccupation of the Kansas City-based Center for Practical Bioethics [CPB], headed by (more…)

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