Short-of-Death Panels

Power Line received an email the other day from a gentleman who is…how shall I put it—unimpressed…with Obamacare.  It’s a long email, but you should read it all.  It recounts his experiences following a pair of strokes—one of them massive—he suffered a bit under two years ago at the ripe old age of 30.  The man spent three months in the hospital, much of that time on life support, and his doctors tell him that had he survived (his chances were about 1%—as he notes, a new meaning for a Democrat mantra), he should have been a vegetable.  But he had a Cadillac insurance policy—one of those openly attacked by Obamacare, and he had very much good fortune that Obamacare would have obviated.

There’s much in the man’s email that recounts his good fortune at not—yet—having to wear the yoke of Obamacare; I want to excerpt just a bit [emphasis added].

Had I been an elderly patient responsible for my own care, or not had the extraordinary family connections that I have at my disposal, I would have been in serious trouble and undoubtedly come out of this much worse.

I saw the cost-cutting is much more tangible.  A major factor in my recovery has been physical, occupational, and speech therapy.  Without those things I wouldn’t be able to roll over, put on my socks, or eat, among other things.  In fact, before my therapy began I was scheduled to enter assisted living.  Because my therapy was so effective….

One of the things Obamacare is doing is forcing Medicare’s CMS to cut back on quite a lot of rehabilitation services.

One of the things that changed for “new” stroke patients was limiting reimbursable therapy visits of all kinds for stroke patients to ten total (because my stokes had happened before the change I was grandfathered in, so to speak).  Ten!

I have had well north of 200 visits.  At upwards of $250/visit for most therapy not many folks could sustain that for long without insurance (and remember, jobs go away when you’re in the hospital as long as I was).  Had I been restricted to ten visits my best case scenario would have involved a home nurse.  I wouldn’t have been able to find work.  And had I been single (as many stroke patients are because they’re elderly and their spouse has passed) I would have become destitute, thus likely landing in the Medicaid system, eventually.

That’s an incredible and frightening amount of power to be put in the hands of DC bureaucrats.  My therapy was at one of my hospitals (I had four) and every day I heard Medicaid patients being told their therapy visits were being cut off.  Those CMS decisions are consigning people to wheelchairs, or worse.

Granted, my case was exceptionally bad but being limited to 10 visits almost would have been a death sentence.  I’ve experienced some of the most awful things imaginable and to think that a bureaucratic decision made in Washington…could have consigned me to that forever….

It’s August and our Representatives and Senators are in town hall season—those of them with the courage to face us up close and in public, and to listen to us.  Go there, and go there often.  Tell our Congressmen to put an end to Obamacare—no more argument, no more “debate,” no more dithering.  Tell both Democrats and Republicans.  Tell the Progressives and Conservatives, too.

Remember, in the primaries and elections of 2014, who follows your instructions this season.  Also remember who didn’t even have the courage to face you in an open town hall.

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