“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!” – Samuel Adams

Death Panels Already Working in Oregon

"I'm from the government and I'm here to help you." (Credit: Creative Commons)

"I'm from the government and I'm here to help you." (Credit: Creative Commons)

Despite all the evidence we’ve seen to the contrary, socialists in congress and the White House continue to sell us the pap that government health care isn’t going to result in them being rationed out of health care or pushed (gently or not-so-gently) into euthanasia.

Despite the morbid implications of government counseling about death found in Section 1233 of HR 3200, the American people are supposed to blindly trust politicians who have left little doubt about their overweening disdain for human life (other than their own, that is).

Now we hear of an interesting story about Oregon’s government health care system.  It seems that while the state government considers chemotherapy drugs too expensive, they’re more than happy to kick in for some assisted suicide drugs to get you on your way.

From ABC News:

The 64-year-old Oregon woman, whose lung cancer had been in remission, learned the disease had returned and would likely kill her. Her last hope was a $4,000-a-month drug that her doctor prescribed for her, but the insurance company refused to pay.

What the Oregon Health Plan did agree to cover, however, were drugs for a physician-assisted death. Those drugs would cost about $50.

“It was horrible,” Wagner told ABCNews.com. “I got a letter in the mail that basically said if you want to take the pills, we will help you get that from the doctor and we will stand there and watch you die. But we won’t give you the medication to live.”

Well, that speaks volumes, doesn’t it? And liberals feign wonder that many Americans don’t trust government with their lives and their health.

LifeSiteNews has this to add:

Dr. Walter Shaffer, medical director of the state Division of Medical Assistance Programs, which administers the Oregon Health Plan, attempted to defend the health plan’s decision. “We can’t cover everything for everyone,” he said. “We try to come up with polices that provide the most good for the most people.” Shaffer then addressed a priority list that had been developed to ration health care. “There’s some desire on the part of the framers of this list to not cover treatments that are futile,” he said, “or where the potential benefit to the patient is minimal in relation to the expense of providing the care.”

According to an AP story on Wagner’s case, local oncologists in Oregon have said that, despite the Health Services Commission’s assertion that they were just clarifying policies already in place, healthcare practitioners have observed a sizable shift in policy in the way recurrent cancer is treated in the state. Increasingly, say local oncologists, sufferers of recurrent cancer are not receiving coverage for chemotherapy. They are always, however, eligible for state-funded assisted suicide.

“No” to Tarceva to save a life, “Yes” to a little hemlock.

Nope, no death panels here. Move along, move along.


Try us out at the new location: American Clarion!


8 Responses to “Death Panels Already Working in Oregon”

  1. There is indeed a dilemma My personal experience is usually with the private insurers, more so than public carriers, who constsntly deny tests and certain therapies which I deem necessary. But it does bring to light a bigger question– Should a patient's insurance cover any and all things that a physician desires ? The drug that was denied Ms. Wagner is a ' last ditch' drug for end stage lung cancer. A small percentage of people respond by living a few months longer. But every once in a while, one person may survive even longer, albeit very, very rare.There are some chemotherapeutic drugs that benefit only 1 or 2 percent of patients that take them and may allow 1 extra month of life and cost more than triple what this drug costs.

    Should insurance companies then cover drug trials where experimental drugs are given because some might respond and you could call that rationing if they were denied it. Chelation therapy claims to cure hardening of the arteries and they are anecdotal claims by doctors and patients that they have been helped. Should it be covered for the desparate patient with severe vascular disease.

    If you and I were part of a health plans advisory committee and were trying to decide whether a drug that costs $20,000 a month and only allowed microscopic improvement and a week of extra of life, what would you do. Do you draw the line somewhere. If you do then do you realise that the patient who was refused that drug would consider you part of a death panel. Who should decide just who gets what when resources are limited ? What do you think the answer is to that.

  2. I don't think there is any perfect answer; we don't live in a perfect world.

    I can tell you this, though: I (and any sane person) would take their chances 10x with the private market before I'd roll the dice once with the federal government. There are a number of reasons for that, and here are a few:

    When you're dealing with private companies, you have much better access to a human appeal process, with much greater wiggle room. When you're dealing with government, there are staggering layers of bureaucracy, laws which cannot be circumvented without going through the entire legislative process, and often a stone-faced, dispassionate aloofness.

    In the private market, you can also turn to charitable organizations and individuals for assistance in many cases. In fact, some people I know have organized a fundraiser tomorrow for someone in the community who is facing some heavy medical costs. Things like this can be done all the way from the coffee can in the quick-stop to the full-fledged fundraiser…in the private market. In the monolithic government system, there is often no conduit through which private money could flow to pay for it–even if the government system would allow it in the first place.

    No, there's no perfect system in this fallen, imperfect world. But if I was going to miss out on medical care, I'd much rather see it happen simply because I didn't have the financial means to make it happen, as opposed to a board of elitist bureaucrats (who may not give a rip about the value of human life in the first place) denying me something that my tax dollars might otherwise have gone to pay for.

  3. Can't argue your points at all. And I hope the fundraiser goes well. Suppose this patient wants to try an experimental drug that has been shown to help a small percent live a few weeks longer. Insurance denies it and they turn to these same fundraisers for help who cant come up with the funds. Are they in essence a death panel ? My point is that it is a term that we must be careful with. In Ms.Wagners case, she died at the expected time and the drug( which she did receive) offerred no help, so there was no death sentencel at all.

  4. No, there is a big difference between not having the funds to purchase something and being denied that something by government. Therein lies one of the fundamental differences between the free market and government. You may not have the money to pay the market value for something, but that is a far cry from being institutionally denied that thing.

  5. There is indeed a dilemma My personal experience is usually with the private insurers, more so than public carriers, who constsntly deny tests and certain therapies which I deem necessary. But it does bring to light a bigger question– Should a patient's insurance cover any and all things that a physician desires ? The drug that was denied Ms. Wagner is a ' last ditch' drug for end stage lung cancer. A small percentage of people respond by living a few months longer. But every once in a while, one person may survive even longer, albeit very, very rare.There are some chemotherapeutic drugs that benefit only 1 or 2 percent of patients that take them and may allow 1 extra month of life and cost more than triple what this drug costs.

    Should insurance companies then cover drug trials where experimental drugs are given because some might respond and you could call that rationing if they were denied it. Chelation therapy claims to cure hardening of the arteries and they are anecdotal claims by doctors and patients that they have been helped. Should it be covered for the desparate patient with severe vascular disease.

    If you and I were part of a health plans advisory committee and were trying to decide whether a drug that costs $20,000 a month and only allowed microscopic improvement and a week of extra of life, what would you do. Do you draw the line somewhere. If you do then do you realise that the patient who was refused that drug would consider you part of a death panel. Who should decide just who gets what when resources are limited ? What do you think the answer is to that.

  6. I don't think there is any perfect answer; we don't live in a perfect world.

    I can tell you this, though: I (and any sane person) would take their chances 10x with the private market before I'd roll the dice once with the federal government. There are a number of reasons for that, and here are a few:

    When you're dealing with private companies, you have much better access to a human appeal process, with much greater wiggle room. When you're dealing with government, there are staggering layers of bureaucracy, laws which cannot be circumvented without going through the entire legislative process, and often a stone-faced, dispassionate aloofness.

    In the private market, you can also turn to charitable organizations and individuals for assistance in many cases. In fact, some people I know have organized a fundraiser tomorrow for someone in the community who is facing some heavy medical costs. Things like this can be done all the way from the coffee can in the quick-stop to the full-fledged fundraiser…in the private market. In the monolithic government system, there is often no conduit through which private money could flow to pay for it–even if the government system would allow it in the first place.

    No, there's no perfect system in this fallen, imperfect world. But if I was going to miss out on medical care, I'd much rather see it happen simply because I didn't have the financial means to make it happen, as opposed to a board of elitist bureaucrats (who may not give a rip about the value of human life in the first place) denying me something that my tax dollars might otherwise have gone to pay for.

  7. Can't argue your points at all. And I hope the fundraiser goes well. Suppose this patient wants to try an experimental drug that has been shown to help a small percent live a few weeks longer. Insurance denies it and they turn to these same fundraisers for help who cant come up with the funds. Are they in essence a death panel ? My point is that it is a term that we must be careful with. In Ms.Wagners case, she died at the expected time and the drug( which she did receive) offerred no help, so there was no death sentencel at all.

  8. No, there is a big difference between not having the funds to purchase something and being denied that something by government. Therein lies one of the fundamental differences between the free market and government. You may not have the money to pay the market value for something, but that is a far cry from being institutionally denied that thing.