Sarah Palin, the health care expert, is continuing to share her wisdom. She writes on her Facebook page that the plan making its way through Congress will "inevitably" lead to health care rationing. Palin claims the president wants to enact a rationing system that would
"refuse to allocate medical resources to the elderly, the infirm, and the disabled who have less economic potential."
Lordy, lordy - what is this rationing business that Palin and others are using to scare people? Basically, it means fairly allocating portions of a scarce resource - usually according to some formula or rule. For example, rationing was used for many food items during World War II. Although no one liked it, few complained. It was recognized as necessary and for the most part was fair - and run by the government. Did they refuse rations to "the elderly, the infirm, and the disabled"? Of course not. Before rationing was instituted, only the wealthy could get the scarce commodities. Free market mentality!
We have rationing in health care right now! You think you can get whatever health care your doctor thinks you need? No chance in hell - unless you're extremely wealthy and pay out of your pocket. Right now, some insurance clerk without a medical degree decides if they'll pay or not - and they will nitpick you to death - literally. As a patient and former health care provider, I can tell you it is extremely difficult to convince one of these clerks (who frequently cannot even spell or pronounce the disorder) that a treatment is necessary.
Insurance companies are in business to make money - period. During the hard times, they just keep racking in the dough. If they're losing money, do they have to tighten their belts like the rest of us? Hell no, they just deny more claims. There is not a single health insurance company in the country losing money right now.
You hear opponents of health care reform talking about "tort reform" - which refers to lawsuits against doctors - and it does need to be addressed. However, there's one area you never hear mentioned - and it's far more important. Do you know if your child dies because a health insurance company denies coverage, you can't sue them? That's right. No matter how good your case, you have no recourse to the courts. You can complain to your State Insurance Commissioner - but let's face it - a cash strapped insurance commission can't begin to compete with a multibillion dollar insurance company. When's the last time you heard a state get anything from an insurance company? Probably never.
There are thousands of horror stories of health insurance companies denying care right now. And there's nothing you can do about it - except support reform that requires fairness.