Rest in Peace Barbara Wagner. She has died in the year since this was news, but Barbara Wagner’s story was discussed some in late Summer 2008. Not much discussion went on, since there were no healthcare hijack bills on the floor of the House and Senate. But now the White House is discounting claims that the government would pay for suicide pills for sick people before it would pay for life extending treatment.
And yet it has already happened!
A recap of the story.
- Barbara Wagner, age 64, was a lung cancer survivor whose case was in remission.
- She was a low-income divorcee on the Oregon Health Plan, which is a low income Oregon State government healthcare plan.
- Then the cancer came back.
- Her last hope was a $4K a month drug (Tarceva by Genentech) prescribed by her doctor.
- Oregon Health Plan wouldn’t cover it. Medicare doesn’t either.
- But after being denied by OHP, she got a letter in the mail informing her that she was eligible to receive a suicide cocktail on the state’s dime.
So did she get the cancer treatment before she died? Yes. Genentech, the fabled big pharma company, was more sympathetic than the government and gave her Tarceva free of charge. Tell those who claim the government is kinder than free market companies that they are dead wrong.
Video after the fold.
Note: As the ABC article noted, there is a proven “strong link between cost-cutting pressure on physicians and their willingness to prescribe lethal drugs to patients — were it legal to do so“. How would the pressure on doctors change if the government ran all insurance companies? Is there any chance that putting the government in charge of all health insurance would reduce pressure on doctors?
Does your stomach drop when you get a letter from the IRS? How’s that for low pressure?