The Blog

Obamacare Means Less Liberty

12:30 PM, Jan 11, 2011 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

In shopping for the best value in a health care plan, what sort of plan would you choose? What benefits would you choose to have it cover? Well, under Obamacare, that wouldn't really be your decision to make. It wouldn't even really be Congress's decision. Rather, It would be the decision of the Obama administration (and of subsequent administrations), as Kathleen Sebelius and company (and their successors) would save you the trouble of having to make these decisions for yourself.

Kaiser Health News reports:

While the law outlines 10 broad categories of coverage -- among them hospital and emergency services, prescription drugs, childbirth and pediatric care – it leaves the specifics to the government.

By "the government," Kaiser Health News means the executive branch. The article continues:

The Obama administration faces a tough balancing act: the benefits package must be broad enough to be comprehensive but not too broad as to be unaffordable. Patient advocates and industry lobbyists already are drawing up wish lists for items they want covered – including autism therapy, obesity treatments, infertility treatments and unlimited chemotherapy visits.

"This is an invitation for all kinds of lobbying from every conceivable disease group and provider group in the country," says Joe Antos, economist at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

The Department of Health and Human Services has asked the independent Institute of Medicine for advice. A 17-member IOM panel begins meeting Wednesday behind closed doors, with public sessions scheduled for Thursday and Friday. Panel members include economists, consumer advocates, a state health commissioner and a former CEO of insurer WellPoint. By fall, they’ll make recommendations on factors HHS should consider in drawing up the benefit package.

The required package affects all policies to be sold in state-based insurance exchanges. Those marketplaces, which are to start operating in 2014, initially will be open only to those who buy individual and small-group policies. New policies sold to individuals and businesses outside the exchanges also would be affected.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 18 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers