06.10.09

Enzi Rejects HELP Committee Democrats' Plan to Ration Life-Saving Care

Washington, D.C. –U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today said the HELP Committee Democrats’ health care proposal would lay the groundwork for Washington bureaucrats to ration and deny life-saving treatments.

“The Kennedy-Dodd bill would give Washington bureaucrats the power to deny you and your family the care you need,” Enzi said. “Republicans are going to fight tooth and nail to stop Democrats from rationing your health care.”

Yesterday, HELP Committee Democrats released a health care reform bill that would create a new bureaucracy to dictate which treatments to pay for.

“This partisan bill contains no provisions to protect patients from health care rationing, and would allow Washington bureaucrats to make coverage decisions based on a patient’s age, life expectancy, disability or quality of life,” Enzi said. “That’s not the kind of coverage Americans want for their families.”

Enzi compared the proposed new Center to the United Kingdom’s National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which decides which treatments patients can and cannot receive. NICE forces many patients to wait months and even years for the care they need, a practice known as “rationing by delay.” In the last several years, NICE has:

• Repeatedly blocked breast cancer patients from receiving break?through drugs;

• Forced patients with multiple sclerosis to wait 2.5 years to receive innovative new treatments;

• Prevented patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease from receiving medication, requiring that their condition worsen before they can take medicine that may have prevented them from getting worse;

• Denied life?prolonging treatments to kidney cancer patients;

• Allowed only a small percentage of patients with osteoporosis to receive new medicine, and then only as a last result; and, • Denied access to the only drugs available to treat aggressive brain tumors.

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