The coming New Year will bring with it many important decisions we will need to make as individuals, as a State, and a Nation. Two of the most significant choices we will make will deal with the elections of 2014, and shall we continue with the current acceptance of the Affordable Care Act, or decide to scrap it altogether? For many years I have seen the problems in the insurance industry, especially since I have been a part of that system and have derived my living from it. I have also believed the health care system needed drastic changes.
However, I fear that we have now gone too far. Somewhere down the road of trying to find the least expensive method for providing care for as many individuals as possible, we have failed to remember the contributions in the form of blood, sweat, tears and taxes so many of our senior citizens have given.
Why am I writing in this fashion? It is because of the presence of The Independent Payment Advisory Board’s (IPAB) existence as a part of the Affordable Care Act. What is this Board and what does it do? The Board is made up of a fifteen member panel charged with the job of finding ways to save money in the Medicare program without affecting coverage or care.
You see, under the current system any type of changes to Medicare payment rates are supposed to be recommended by Med PAC and require an act of Congress to be implemented. But under the new system, which by the way is in effect, the IPAB has the authority to cut corners, and if they cannot agree on a way and means for the cutting of those corners, the power for that decision will pass to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The United States Congress does have the right to overrule the decisions of IPAB and Secretary of Health and Human Services with a supermajority vote.
My concern is this, Medicare meets the needs of the elderly on a nationwide basis. The decisions for patient treatment in this program are made by the Medicare physician, patient and the patient’s family, and I believe that is how it should continue until something better than the Affordable Care Act can be developed.
When a person goes on Medicare, the fact of their previous decades of contribution to Social Security and the Medicare program should not be forgotten but remembered in the form of the best medical care possible. The lurking demon in The Affordable Care Program is this, it will be the aged that will first be evaluated on the cost of the medical treatment and the necessity of it and the Medicare benefits will be cut. Next, the IPAB could possibly decide the medical cost based on one’s nationality, and physical ailments common to them, then who knows, even you might be next.