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Mcconnell Wants No Rationing? Fine.

And now, for something new, the Republicans say President Obama and his allies want to ration your health care. Actually, this time the old rationing argument has a slightly novel twist: Two senior senators, Mitch McConnell and John Kyl, are co-sponsoring a bill to stop rationing. As the press release from Kyl's office explains:  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) and U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) today introduced legislation to prohibit the federal government from denying or delaying health-care treatment to a patient based on cost.

The Preserving Access to Targeted, Individualized, and Effective New Treatments and Services (PATIENTS) Act of 2009 would bar the federal government from using “comparative effectiveness research--a common tool used by socialized health-care systems to dictate treatment based on cost rather than effectiveness--to deny coverage of a health-care treatment or micromanage the practice of medicine

Fine, fine. But here's my question: Are Kyl and McConnell prepared to extend a similar ban to private insurers? After all, private insurers factor cost into treatment decisions all the time. Do Kyl and McConnell think that's wrong, too--that cost should never, ever be factor?

Or do they think it's o.k. when the medical directors for your friendly neighborhood HMO--operating behind closed doors and under pressure to make profits--make these decisions? 

Note: I've actually submitted this question to both Kyl's and McConnell's offices. No answer yet. If I get one, I'll post it. 

--Jonathan Cohn