Communications Department

Seniors’ Ability to Spend Own Money on Healthcare Threatened by Obama Proposal

Feb 22, 2010 | 2010 Press Releases


WASHINGTON — The following statement may be attributed to Burke Balch, J.D., director of the National Right to Life Committee’s Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics.

The Obama health care proposal issued this morning would take away from America’s senior citizens their current right to add their own money on top of the government Medicare contribution to get health insurance less likely to deny treatment through tightly controlled managed care. (See It would do so even as it cuts the government contribution to Medicare by hundreds of billions of dollars.

Under “Title III . . . Guaranteeing Benefits for Seniors by Ending Overpayments to Insurance Companies,” the Obama proposal states that Medicare Advantage plans – the alternative that now allows older Americans, if they wish, to pay more to get insurance less likely to ration treatment –  will “be prohibited from charging seniors more than they would pay for services delivered under the traditional Medicare program.”


Thus, older Americans would be prohibited by law from making up the Medicare shortfall by using their own money to save their own lives. (See

This means that, even as more and more doctors and other health care providers are leaving the Medicare program because of low government reimbursement rates – rates that under the Obama bill will decline still more in comparison to medical inflation – senior citizens will have nowhere to turn.  Their only option will be tightly managed plans that provide less and less treatment. 

In a case of genuine chutzpah, the Obama proposal then goes on to claim that “all ideas that ration care…will be banned” – even as it imposes what will be ever-increasing rationing on senior citizens.

separate release issued earlier today describes the National Right to Life Committee’s abortion-related concerns with the Obama health care proposal.

Burke Balch, J.D. is available to provide comment and analysis on the Obama proposal.  Please contact the NRLC Communications Department at (202) 626-8825 to arrange an interview.