Death Consult Pre-dates Obamacare

Much has been said about the so-called death squads as part of HR 3200. Of course Obama has joked about it but not so quietly Section 1233 has been “pulled” from the proposal.

Or has it?

We have no way of knowing if the folks in the House took a page from the playbook of the Oregon Health Plan or not, but for those who do not know the plight of Barbara Wagner, here is a refresher.

Barbara Wagner has one wish – for more time.

“I’m not ready, I’m not ready to die,” the Springfield woman said. “I’ve got things I’d still like to do.”

Her doctor offered hope in the new chemotherapy drug Tarceva, but the Oregon Health Plan sent her a letter telling her the cancer treatment was not approved.

Instead, the letter said, the plan would pay for comfort care, including “physician aid in dying,” better known as assisted suicide.

“I told them, I said, ‘Who do you guys think you are?’ You know, to say that you’ll pay for my dying, but you won’t pay to help me possibly live longer?’ ” Wagner said.

It’s very simple really.

Tarceva costs $4,000 per month.

Pills to assist in committing suicide are less than $100.

Dr. Som Saha, chairman of the commission that sets policy for the Oregon Health Plan, said Wagner is making an “unfortunate interpretation” of the letter and that no one is telling her the health plan will only pay for her to die.

Unfortunate interpretation.

Didn’t the O-man say something to that effect in a recent town hall meeting?

Saha said state health officials do not consider whether it is cheaper for someone in the health plan to die than live. But he admitted they must consider the state’s limited dollars when dealing with a case such as Wagner’s.

“If we invest thousands and thousands of dollars in one person’s days to weeks, we are taking away those dollars from someone,” Saha said.

Sounds like it is all about dollars.

Genentech, who manufactures Tarceva, agreed to provide the drug to Barbara at no charge.

A few months later Barbara died.

So who is the bad guy here?

The government run health care plan or the money grabbing, profit making drug company?

You pick.

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