Commentary: Health care is already rationed in U.S.

In the health care debate, there's a lot of misinformed talk about how government will "ration" health care. To hold down costs, the argument goes, the government will deny you drugs or medical procedures you need — maybe even let you die.

Well, unless you're Warren Buffet, Bill Gates or someone else with a bottomless checkbook, your health care is already rationed.

If your health care is a benefit of your job, your company has already had to decide what level of coverage it can afford to provide.

That's rationing.

After your health insurance is in place, the insurance company limits what drugs and medical treatments you can get. Private policies routinely pay only for generic drugs instead of more expensive brand name versions. Health plans typically cap how many days they will cover in substance abuse treatment or in a psychiatric hospital. They routinely limit how much they will pay for your care in a year or in your lifetime. Many insurance plans don't pay for orthodontia. Some plans tell you which doctors you can use.

That's rationing.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Anchorage Daily News.