Barack Obama, speech to joint session of Congress, Sept. 9, 2009:
"I will make sure that no government bureaucrat or insurance company bureaucrat gets between you and the care that you need."
Senator (and physician) Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, in today's WSJ:
Additionally, the Reid bill depends on the recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in no fewer than 14 places. This task force was responsible for advising women under 50 to not undergo annual mammograms. The administration claims the task force recommendations do not carry the force of law, but the Reid bill itself contradicts them in section 2713. The bill explicitly states, on page 17, that health insurance plans "shall provide coverage for" services approved by the task force. This chilling provision represents the government stepping between doctors and patients. When the government asserts the power to provide care, it also asserts the power to deny care.
When the government fails to pay for unapproved services (note: unapproved, not unnecessary) it of course restricts them. This is the government standing between you and your physician. Mr. Obama's statement that "no government bureaucrat or insurance company bureaucrat gets between you and the care that you need" has a different meaning to him than it does to the rest of us. He clearly means the statement to apply to approved services only. And in order to determine those approved services it places itself as supervisor ... final arbiter, really ... of the patient care decisions of a million physicians and their 300 million patients.