Who Will Make Your Health Care “Choices”?
The House health care reform bill would establish a new entity called the Health Choices Administration, headed by a presidential appointee to be called the Health Choices Commissioner. Sounds wonderful, right? A government official whose only job is to make sure you have health care choices, right?
No. If you read the bill – Title I, Subtitle E, Sections 141-143, on pages 41-48 – it turns out that the Health Choices Commissioner’s job is, essentially, to make your health choices for you.
The Health Choices Commissioner will decide what services health insurance must cover, and under what conditions. These choice (“standards”) will apply to both employer-sponsored insurance and insurance purchased through the Health Insurance Exchange, which will be operated by the Health Choices Administration. There will be no other legal way to buy health insurance. There will, however, be a “Qualified Health Benefits Plan Ombudsman” to provide you with “assistance” in “choosing a qualified health benefits plan in which to enroll” – from among the plan or plans the Commissioner has already chosen, of course.
In choosing what services your health plan will cover, the Health Choices Commissioner will be required to consult with various entities, such as State attorneys general, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, “other appropriate federal agencies,” and Indian tribes. However, Commissioner will not be required to consult with patients (except for Indian tribes), doctors, or other health care providers.