There are only two ways to control the skyrocketing cost of health care. The first is to transfer power to government and limit care to patients - especially seniors.
The second is to protect physicians from frivolous litigation and then have patients ask two basic questions: "Do I really need this test?" and "How much will it cost?"
President Obama chose the first path. We see this in the formation of the IPAB, a board composed of 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats. The ACA defines the board's task: "Purpose - It is the purpose of (the IPAB) to limit the per-capita growth of Medicare spending."
This means health care for seniors.
The philosophy behind this board is found in a paper written by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a senior health care advisers to President Obama. Published the month President Obama took office, this paper lays out what is called the "Complete Lives System."
Here, Dr. Emanuel prioritizes health care for Americans between ages 15 and 55. Those younger, or older, have chances that are "attenuated" should they need a medical procedure in an age of scarce resources. Given the president's $716 billion cut to Medicare, I fear we now face such a time.
Who should control the personal and complex process of medical decision making? You and your physician? Or Washington?
This question defines America's health care debate. Only you can decide.
-- Cathy Lukasko Gray, MD, Founder and President, Physicians for Reform, Brookfield