Let the Death Panels Commence

A few weeks back I’d read about the drug Avastin, something about its approval maybe being pulled back. It’s a very expensive drug prescribed as a last-ditch effort for breast cancer patients. It’s not a cure, but it provides an extension of life and quality of life in the hope (that America has no shortage of), that a cure might be obtained.

I’m not in favor of America’s “Obamacare”, though I am in agreement improvement in our existing system is…was needed. I’m not in favor of bureaucracies making decisions about treatments and drugs based on financial records and cost-benefit analyses. That is appalling to me. Anyway, this article shows just how things will work with Obamacare…and this is just the beginning. However, rather than appear all doom & gloom, I have faith in this great country that we’ll either repeal Obamacare and then make incremental improvements that are in the best interest of the patient, the doctor, the hospital, the system, the cost, the debt OR we’ll just remove about 1,990 pages of the 2000 page bill (those #’s are not accurate, but you get my drift…) – and keep the good part.

Perhaps I should have written an entry on the Avastin when I first read about it, as my first thoughts was ‘here we go already’. But this columnist wrote a much better article on the topic than I ever could.

Let the death panels commence
Peter Heck – Guest Columnist – 8/30/2010 10:00:00 AM

On Friday, August 7, 2009, Sarah Palin wrote on her Facebook page: “The Democrats promise that a government healthcare system will reduce the cost of healthcare, but [it] will not…it will simply refuse to pay the cost. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide…whether they are worthy of healthcare. Such a system is downright evil.”

The response of Democrats and the media to Palin’s assertion can only be described as outrage. Howard Dean went on ABC and called it “totally erroneous,” concluding, “She just made that up.” Even David Brooks, the closest thing to a conservative the New York Times can bring themselves to hire, proclaimed on Meet the Press, “That’s crazy…the crazies are attacking the plan because it’ll cut off granny, and that – that’s simply not true. That simply is not going to happen.”

And even last week, Newsweek magazine ranked the idea that there would be bureaucratic boards making life-and-death decisions for people as one of the “Dumb Things Americans Believe.”

The only problem for Dean, Brooks, Newsweek and the whole lot is that it now appears that under ObamaCare there are bureaucratic boards making life-and-death decisions for people.

Take the anti-cancer drug Avastin, which was fast-tracked by the FDA years ago. It is primarily used to treat colon cancer, but is also prescribed now to treat nearly 18,000 women a year who are fighting the late stages of breast cancer. While Avastin doesn’t cure the disease, it can and does significantly lengthen and improve the quality of a victim’s last months. Perhaps to be expected, Avastin is also very expensive, costing up to $100,000 a year.

But now suddenly, despite the stringent objections being made by both the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance on behalf of patients, the FDA is considering removing Avastin from its approved drug list for breast cancer. Such a move would mean ending its coverage by both Medicare and the government program for low-income women.

ObamaCare proponents say this FDA action has nothing to do with the expensive nature of the drug, but rather about questions over its effectiveness. That’s possible…but there is strong circumstantial evidence to suggest otherwise.

Consider that if the FDA continues to approve Avastin, it puts the ObamaCare system in a very difficult and awkward position: it could either subsidize the expensive drug for low-income women, or refuse to subsidize it.

If it does the former, the government will be shelling out billions of taxpayer dollars a year for a drug that is increasingly popular, but doesn’t cure the disease. That destroys the promise of ObamaCare to lower costs. But if it does the latter, thereby denying treatment to patients that they could have received prior to ObamaCare, they prove Sarah Palin and conservative critics of the plan totally correct on the issue of rationing.

So to avoid this uncomfortable dilemma, Obama’s FDA simply pulls its recommendation of the drug altogether. This may allow ObamaCare’s supporters the chance to temporarily dodge the political fallout of what they’ve foisted on the American people, but it also devastates the families of nearly 18,000 women who will suffer the deadly consequences.

Is this the vaunted “compassion” our president and his allies promised they were delivering to our healthcare system?

ObamaCare has already devolved into the nightmare we should have seen coming from the moment the president told Jane Strum in a town hall meeting that perhaps her 100-year-old mother should have gotten a pain pill instead of a life-saving pacemaker.

The frightening reality is that this controversy over Avastin is only the beginning. This is what our healthcare system is on the verge of becoming under ObamaCare: battles with faceless bureaucracies who make decisions about treatments and drugs looking at financial records and cost-benefit analyses, not people.

Covering the Avastin story in the Washington Post, reporter Rob Stein begins, “Federal regulators are considering taking the highly unusual step of rescinding approval of a drug that patients with advanced breast cancer turn to as a last-ditch hope.” Highly unusual…until now.

Welcome to Obama’s brave new world where “perhaps you’re better off with a pain pill.” I dare say that for those of us with family members or friends who have battled breast cancer, Sarah’s not looking quite so crazy anymore.

Link to Article above: http://www.onenewsnow.com/Perspectives/Default.aspx?id=1141010