It’s not often that citizens are able to get the government to listen, but in the case of breast cancer patients, we can only hope. That’s because of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed to deny breast cancer patients access to the late-stage cancer drug Avastin. Safety of the drug is not the issue. The FDA is proposing to allow access to the drugs if someone has the ability to pay for it but those who rely on insurance and Medicare to cover the costs would be out of luck. The FDA action would allow Medicare and private insurers to wipe the books clean on breast cancer patients who rely on the drug. It’s becoming clear that cost was the major driver of the decision and if the decision is allowed to stand, will have huge impact on the future of health care in the United States.
Fearing that treatment choices and options will be limited by the FDA decision, a dozen groups like Susan B. Komen and Cancer101 petitioned the FDA to reverse their decision. Today, the FDA announced it would give the maker of the drug Roche an opportunity to defend itself at a hearing in June.
The Avastin case is a dangerous precedent but one that is inevitable when the government’s objective is to “reduce the cost of health care.” When was the last time the government was able to reduce the price of anything? Competition and market forces reduce the price of goods and services. Government can’t do it. Rather than reducing the cost, the government will just decide not to pay the cost.
The only tool the government has to achieve this goal is rationing. In Great Britain’s government -run health care system, they have established a rule for covering the cost of a drug or treatment. It has to cost under $49,000 and extend life for 12 months. A dollar more or a day less, and patients are left to his or her own devices.
Is it any surprise that the head of the largest health care regulatory agency in England is proposing to chance to law to allow assisted suicide?
American health care was a model to the world for decades. But thanks to ObamaCare we are heading in another direction.
Cost has always been a factor in the decisions families make concerning health choices. Do we really want it any other way? If healthcare were truly free, the point would be moot.
But even the very government officials who tout free healthcare know that they are telling a huge lie. Free healthcare, like free Public Education and the myriad other free services have real, substantial costs. With unemployment actually nearing 20% for middle-class whites and near (and above, in some locales) 30% for blacks, where’s the money coming from to fund the free programs?
The Social Experiment is failing in the US, just as we watched it do in Greece and other European hotspots. Until the busy-bodies in government find a way to shrink its drain on private resources, we are doomed to even more decades of kleptocracy. I do not see a bloodless end to this tyrany; for the sake of my children and grandchildren, dear God let me be wrong again!
This is slightly off-topic, however, I am tired of waiting on the government (ala government-funded universities) to come up with a cure for cancer. Of all the billions donated to the ACS, can’t we come up with a better game-plan? For one, provide cancer patients a PRIVATE system that pays for all cancer treatments? I cringe thinking about the trillions of dollars that have been wasted over decades and decades of applying the dollars down an empty hole.
Either the government is going to work out cost effectiveness guidelines, or profit-motivated corporations in the health insurance business are going to set cost effectiveness guidelines. In either case, there’s going to be some level of rationing of extraordinarily expensive drugs and medical procedures. There already has been for years, by default. What do you think was happening when an insurance company refused to approve a specific drug or procedure? What was happening each time they dropped coverage when a lifetime limit was reached? What were they doing when they denied coverage for a pre-existing condition? If not rationing, what was it that prevented millions of uninsured Americans from having difficulty of access to even basic medical care?
It would be wonderful to live in a nation where every man, woman, and child has unrestricted access to the most advanced medical care for every health issue he or she faces at any point in life, regardless of cost consideration. If anyone has an idea how that can be worked out I’d be happy to hear about it. Until then, there’s always going to be something that can be characterized as “rationing”.
Will the FDA Listen to Cancer Patients? [Reader Post] | Flopping Aces http://bit.ly/egRmIC
@Greg: You said:
But when the government is the only game in town, who do you turn to when THEY deny coverage?
I am guessing you won’t answer that one, either Greggie.
I lost a grandmother I never got to meet from breast cancer.
I lost a mother-in-law I knew well from it, too.
I have also lost a few friends and acquaintances from it.
But….never without a fight!
To even imagine that every arrow in the doctor’s quiver would not be at the ready to try to help is unimaginable.
See, I have also known more than a few ladies who have been breast cancer survivors.
That does not happen on its own.
Sarah called them ”death panels.”
Well, wasn’t that an effective turn of phrase?
You see, it only is effective if it has accuracy.
And, it does.
FDA is every bit as dangerous as EPA. Remember RINO McCain wants FDA to lord over all vitamins and supplements as well. Ephedra was (is) an effective weight loss supplement with thousands of years of use in Chinese medicine, a few idiots kill themselves using massively more than they should, so now nobody can use it. Compare and contrast that to the myriad pharmacuticals approved by FDA that are either more dangerous, more costly, less effective, or carry more side effects and you will find the age old adage of politics. . . follow the money.
Think about the parallel to gun violence and how quickly the over reaching feds would do the same if not for the second amendment.