Meet the ObamaCare Mandate Committee

Think the contraception decision was bad? Wait until bureaucrats start telling your insurer which cancer screenings to cover.

Scott Gottlieb
The Wall Street Journal
2/16/2012

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.

That’s because mandating coverage for all the “A” and “B” services will be very costly. In 2000, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the marginal cost of similar state insurance mandates was 5%-10% of total claims. Other estimates put the cost of mandates as high as 20% of premiums.

Health plans will inevitably choose to drop coverage for many services that don’t get a passing grade from the task force and therefore aren’t mandated. Insurance companies will need to conserve their premium money, which the government regulates, in order to spend it subsidizing those services that the task force requires them to cover in full…

…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…

The entire article is at The Wall Street Journal.

Update: Sen. Mike Lee: ‘Heavens, No!’ Constitution Doesn’t Give Gov’t Authority to Force Companies to Provide Products for Free

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