“Think the contraception decision was bad?” asks the Wall Street Journal. Well, just wait. It will get much worse.
Offended by President Obama’s decision to force health insurers to pay for contraception and surgical sterilization? It gets worse: In the future, thanks to ObamaCare, the government will issue such health edicts on a routine basis—and largely insulated from public view. This goes beyond contraception to cancer screenings, the use of common drugs like aspirin, and much more.
Under ObamaCare, a single committee—the United States Preventative Services Task Force—is empowered to evaluate preventive health services and decide which will be covered by health-insurance plans.
The task force already rates services with letter grades of “A” through “D” (or “I,” if it has “insufficient evidence” to make a rating). But under ObamaCare, services rated “A” or “B”—such as colon cancer screening for adults aged 50-75—must be covered by health plans in full, without any co-pays. Many services that get “Cs” and “Ds”—such as screening for ovarian or testicular cancer—could get nixed from coverage entirely. . . .
Over time, the task force will surely recommend against many services that patients now take for granted, while mandating full insurance coverage for things that they’d be just as happy paying for. Among the interventions that it plans to consider in 2012 are screening for hepatitis C in adults, for osteoporosis in men and for depression in children; counseling for obesity in adults and for alcohol use in adolescents; and daily aspirin for heart-attack and stroke prevention in people over 80.
The task force’s problems are compounded by the fact that it is deliberately exempted from the rules that govern other government advisory boards and regulatory agencies. Thus it has no obligation to hold its meetings in public, announce decisions in draft form or even consider public comments. Consumers have no way to directly appeal its decisions. And health providers or product developers affected by its decisions can’t sue it for recourse.