Remember the Obamacare 'Death Panels'? They're Still Here, But Now Based on 'QALYs.'

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Sarah Palin received endless grief and mockery during and after the Obamacare debate when she claimed that the nationalized health care system proposed by President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress would include “death panels.”


Palin, who is the mother of a Down Syndrome child, wrote in a Facebook post regarding the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) proposed by Obamacare:

The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but, as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course.

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

All of the derision aimed at Palin to the contrary, the reality is that the federal government uses “Quality Adjusted Life Years” (QALYs) as a metric for deciding whether to cover the costs of certain medical treatments. Put otherwise, it’s a rationing yardstick. And if you are mentally or physically disabled or have certain chronic diseases, a QALYs can be spelled D-E-A-T-H.


House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) explains:

All lives are worth living. It’s unconscionable that a health care bureaucracy would so callously determine that someone’s life is worth less. They deserve every chance to have hope and reach their full potential. The ‘Quality-Adjusted Life Years’ measurement is used to discriminate against people with chronic illnesses and disabilities, like cystic fibrosis, ALS, or Down syndrome, putting them at the back of the line for treatment. Moving this legislation will be a priority for our committee.

Similarly, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.) points out:

Washington bureaucrats have no business picking and choosing which Americans are worthy of receiving treatment for serious, and often life-threatening, health issues. The ‘quality-adjusted life years’ measurement is discriminatory, morally bankrupt, and has no place in our health care system. I’m proud to join Chair Rodgers and Congressmen Burgess and Wenstrup in this effort to halt the government’s shameless attempt to decide if someone’s life is worth living.

The proposal Smith refers to is H.R. 485, the Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act, a House bill that is designed to ban the use of QALYs throughout the federal government.


Rodgers explains:

H.R. 485 would prohibit the use of quality adjusted life years (QALYs) in all federal programs—an expansion from the current prohibition that only applies in a limited fashion to the Medicare program.

The controversial metric intentionally devalues treatments for disabled individuals and those with chronic illnesses for purposes of determining whether the treatment is cost-effective enough to be paid for by the federal government. The use of QALYs is a clear form of discrimination. The bill would also prohibit the importation of price-controls from countries that use QALYs, which are a socialist trademark of government-run health insurance programs.

The Health Subcommittee of the Rodgers panel convenes a Wednesday, Feb. 1, hearing on this proposal and related ones on fentanyl and hacking of suicide phone lines. It likely won’t get much in the way of Mainstream Media coverage, but it’s vitally important for anybody who nurtures a respect for and cherishing of life.

The hearing will be live-streamed here. The hearing convenes at 10 a.m. EST. Witnesses have not yet been announced.

Rodgers and Rep. Brett Guthrie, the Kentucky Republican who is chairman of the health subcommittee, issued a joint statement, saying:


There is inherent value and dignity in every human life. Yet, we see so many in society in without hope. At a time when deaths of despair were heightened, we learned of a hack of the 9-8-8 suicide lifeline, taking a critical lifeline out of commission for hours.

From the families and loved ones of the 71,000 deaths related to synthetic opioids, like fentanyl and its analogues, to those with disabilities or a rare condition worried about being denied access to treatment because of dehumanizing calculations by the federal government—we hear you. Your lives, and the lives of your loved ones, are worth living.

You can view the text of the bill on the fentanyl issue here and here. You can view the bill related to the suicide line hacking here.


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