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Health Insurance Reform Daily Mythbuster: 'Rationing of Care and People with Disabilities'

Health insurance reform opponents continue to spread myths about components of America's Affordable Health Choices Act, including the outrageous scare tactic that reform will lead to rationed care and will harm people with disabilities.  In fact, the House bill protects people with disabilities from discrimination and unfair business practices that have resulted in loss of coverage and denial of care. This critical legislation will help ensure that all Americans - including those with disabilities - have access to affordable, high quality health coverage … and that insurance company bureaucrats are no longer rationing care based on health, age, or ability to pay--instead putting doctors and patients back in charge of health care decisions. 

MYTH:  “Health insurance reform will ration care, harming people with disabilities.”

FACT:  Forty-three organizations representing individuals with disabilities, chronic conditions and their families signed a letter in support of the House bill stating:

We believe that there are numerous provisions in the America's Affordable Health Choices Act (H.R. 3200) that greatly benefit children and adults with disabilities and chronic conditions. The following stand out as signature achievements of the legislation:

  • Major insurance market reforms such as the elimination of discrimination based on health status, a prohibition on pre-existing condition exclusions, guaranteed issue and renewal requirements, elimination of annual and lifetime caps, and mental health and substance abuse parity requirements;
  • Significant investments in Medicaid to provide health care services to those with low incomes and disabilities;
  • A serious commitment to expand access to affordable coverage through credits for the purchase of insurance through the new Health Insurance Exchange.

MYTH:  “Health insurance reform will lead to rationed care for everyone.”

FACT: Under America's Affordable Health Choices Act, there is not one provision in the bill that gives any government bureaucrat the ability to determine what treatments an individual can receive.  The House bill will put patients and doctors where they belong - in the driver's seat.  Actually, care is being rationed now--by insurance companies--which are making coverage and care decisions based on profits, not what's best for patients.

The bill's creation of a Health Benefits Advisory Committee will in no way ration care.  The Committee does NOT have any role in determining what treatments individuals are entitled to; its primary role is simply to recommend the minimum benefit package insurers must offer under the bill, to protect consumers.

Comparative effectiveness research, which has been funded by the Federal Government for years, has NOTHING to do with rationing.  Instead, this research is simply about giving doctors information they need and want to better serve their patients.  The bill explicitly PROHIBITS the Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research and the Comparative Effectiveness Research Commission from using this research to define, limit, or mandate treatment or services.

The Pulitzer prize-winning Politifact website says it clearly:  “Some opponents, however, claim the government would use findings from this research to ration care. We looked into this issue in detail and concluded that claim is False.”