In a Twitter sparring match with Jim Hanson, the president of the Security Studies Group, newly elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) wrote: “Actually, we have for-profit ‘death panels’ now: they are companies + boards saying you’re on your own bc they won’t cover a critical procedure or medicine.” This was in response to a remark on “socialist death panels.”
“Ocasio-Cortez is correct in that insurers—like government programs—often deny coverage for life-saving services, or make them virtually unavailable because of narrow networks,” states AAPS executive director Jane M. Orient, M.D.
In commenting on the exchange, Justin Hawkins, editor-in-chief of StoppingSocialism.com,states that in a market-based system, one could simply choose an insurance plan that had the needed coverage. However, we are far from having a free-market system, and even if we did, one cannot buy coverage instantly upon finding out the need to make a claim. Even ObamaCare Exchange plans have open enrollment periods, outside of which enrollment is closed.
Some essential facts that all need to know:
- Having “coverage” does not mean the plan will pay. It could decide that in your case the service was “unnecessary” or “experimental.” The plan’s doctor—who isn’t really your doctor—will probably agree, or risk getting kicked off the plan. This means that the “death panel” function is being delegated to doctors.
- If you are in a managed-care plan, you probably will not be able to pay out of pocket if the hospital or doctor has a provider agreement withthe plan, which almost certainly has a “hold harmless” clause.
- Most Medicaid and increasing numbers of Medicare Advantage patients are on such plans.Single payer or Medicare for All would almost certainly be administered by the managed-care cartel.
- A Medicare-for-All proposal with 123 Democrat sponsors would outlaw any insurance coverage that duplicated M4A benefits. So, if the plan didn’tpay, no one else could.
Notably, Ocasio-Cortez and other advocates for more socialization of medicine do not deny the need to deny or restrict services. There will be price controls, utilization reviews, shortages, surveillance of doctors, and many other methods of covert rationing—just no officially designated and accountable Death Panel.