Reform Editorials Examine Rationed Care, Taxing Health Benefits
Wall Street Journal: A recent decision by CMS to end Medicare coverage of virtual colonoscopies is "a preview of how health care will be rationed when Democrats" create "a new 'universal' health insurance entitlement for the middle class," a Journal editorial states. According to the editorial, the prospects of such a health system are "playing out in miniature in Medicare" where CMS has decided that offering an alternative to the traditional colonoscopy is "too pricey." The editorial states that the situation features "precisely the sort of complexity that the Democrats would prefer to ignore as they try to restructure health care" and use comparative effectiveness research to determine what works best for the majority of patients. According to the editorial, "The problem is that what 'works best' isn't the same for everyone." It continues that CMS "made the hard-and-fast choice that it was cheaper to cut [virtual colonoscopies] ... for all beneficiaries. If some patients are worse off, well, too bad." The editorial concludes that the situation is "merely a preview of the life-and-death decisions that will be determined by politics" if Democrats enact their ideal system (Wall Street Journal, 5/19).
- Washington Post: President Obama should reconsider his stance against taxing health care benefits in order to fund health care reform because such a plan would "help hold down health care costs and be fairer to low-income [U.S. residents] than the current system," a Post editorial states. The editorial continues that it is not necessary to completely tax health benefits because a partial tax could still "produce significant sums while avoiding the destabilizing effect" of enacting a full tax. The editorial concludes, "Expanding coverage is important; so is paying for it. The more revenue sources left on the table at this point, the better the likely outcome" (Washington Post, 5/19).