MATTERS OF LIFE AND DEATH
State denies cancer treatment, offers suicide instead
‘To say, we’ll pay for you to die, but not pay for you to live, it’s cruel’
Posted: June 19, 2008
11:15 pm Eastern
© 2009 WorldNetDaily
State officials have offered a lung cancer patient the option of having the Oregon Health Plan, set up in 1994 to ration health care, pay for an assisted suicide but not for the chemotherapy prescribed by her physician.
The story appears to be a happy ending for Barbara Wagner, who has been notified by a drug manufacturer that it will provide the expensive medication, estimated to cost $4,000 a month, for the first year and then allow her to apply for further treatment, according to a report in the Eugene Register-Guard.
But the word from the state was coverage for palliative care, which would include the state’s assisted suicide program, would be allowed but not coverage for the cancer treatment drugs.
“To say to someone, we’ll pay for you to die, but not pay for you to live, it’s cruel,” Wagner told the newspaper. “I get angry. Who do they think they are?”
(Story continues below)
She said she was devastated when the state health program refused coverage for Tarceva, the drug her doctor ordered for treatment of her lung cancer.
The refusal came in an unsigned letter from LIPA, the company that runs the state program in that part of Oregon.
“We had no intent to upset her, but we do need to point out the options available to her under the Oregon Health Plan,” Dr. John Sattenspiel, senior medical director for LIPA, told the newspaper.
“I understand the way it was interpreted. I’m not sure how we can lift that. The reality is, at some level (doctor-assisted suicide) could be considered as a palliative or comfort care measure.”
The 64-year-old Wagner lives in a low-income apartment in Springfield with her dog, the newspaper said.
State officials say the Oregon Health Plan prioritizes treatments, with diagnoses and ailments deemed the most important, such as pregnancy, childbirth and preventive care for children at the top of the list. Other treatments rank below, officials said.
“We can’t cover everything for everyone,” Dr. Walter Shaffer, a spokesman for the state Division of Medical Assistance Programs, told the paper. “Taxpayer dollars are limited for publicly funded programs. We try to come up with policies that provide the most good for the most people.”
He said many cancer treatments are a high priority, but others reflect the “desire on the part of the framers of this list to not cover treatments that are futile.”
Wagner, however, is ending up with the treatment needed when her lung cancer, in remission for two years, returned.
She reported a representative for the pharmaceutical company called and notified her the drug would be provided for at least the first year.
“We have been warning for years that this was a possibility in Oregon,” said the “Bioethics Pundit” on the Bioethics blog. “Medicaid is rationed, meaning that some treatments are not covered. But assisted suicide is always covered.”
“This isn’t the first time this has happened either,” the blogger wrote. “A few years ago a patient who needed a double organ transplant was denied the treatment but would have been eligible for state-financed assisted suicide. But not to worry. Just keep repeating the mantra: There are no abuses with Oregon’s assisted suicide law. There are no abuses. There are no abuses!
I have just started the long journey of healing when a close family member suffered a severe brain injury that caused a major impairment of function. It has been one month and it just seems to get harder as challenges mount up ranging from financial to my education. I have to reshape my entire life, making great, great sacrifices to accommodate this beloved member of our family.
Now, in a gratuitous appearance on late-night television, once again proving his narcissistic belief that he is some kind of Hollywood celebrity, President Obama likens his poor bowling skills to those “like the Special Olympics” to get a cheap laugh. This would be offensive coming from Cosmo Kramer. Coming from our new President who was elected on a promise of bi-partisan peace and love, this is ear-splitting and nasty.
Mr. President, you are an asshole. You have no idea how much your words hurt and I truly hope you never do have to face the challenges I do today. I would imagine that the taste of eating the words you shat out of your mouth last night would be utterly Ipecac-ish. I hope that your little laugh was worth it. You lost the faith of a large part of the country and hurt many of us to boot.
Great job, Mr. President. I am ashamed of my country (for the first time in my adult life…)
What the Hell hapened to men’s clothes? I am amazed to see harsh words like “Affliction” and “Love Dies” adorned with sparkly trinkets, pink pastels, and tapered-leg jeans. OMG, WTF, ROTFL? GAY? I mean gay, OK, we all pretend that it’s not a big deal to see men kissing and we’ve bought into the rhetoric that it may even be natural to be gay (and gender roles are not…) But please spare us the dignity, those of us who have yet to embrace skin-tight jeans and sparkly pink shirts, of options. I walked 40 blocks down 5th Avenue in New York City yesterday shopping with my beautiful wonderful girlfriend. SHE ended up buying more than I did – IN THE MEN’S SECTION!!! Men’s clothes have become gay and that is NOT OK! Give me back the grunge era! I long for a flannel, ripped jeans and heroin-laced music.
::Command:: Step back and simply observe, or ponder, the staunch, passive-aggressive, ill-conceived, oft-erroneous, stands people are taking an issues these days. This is quite an irony because this particular NOW coincides perfectly with the NOW that is rife with hordes of mis- or un- informed people willingly giving up freedom in the name of, HA HA FREEDOM! Yes, we will not be known as the American Renaissance, kids. I love America and am proud of my heritage. This is an observation with no political bend. So, let me just head that off right away. I don’t want to be flooded with mail from the people I’m about to make fun of. Yes, I do want to have my cake and eat it too! Fine, write to me if you get mad. But what I’m about to write here is super true. Check it:
I just came home from a bar. As I was leaving, I somehow struck up a convo with a girl who was cleaning up. She told me about her family heritage and said that she was Dominican. I asked, as I always do in these types of exchanges, “Where were you born?” She replied, “New York”. I then observed the obvious, “So, you are American, right?”
“No, I told you, I’m Dominican! What are you?”
“My mother is Italian and my father is a European mutt, but I am American.”
“No, you’re ITALIAN. I never would have thought YOU were an ITALIAN.”
“I’m American.”, I tried again.
“No, you’re ITALIAN. When is your birthday?”
“Are you a VIRGO? No way are you a VIRGO!”
“Well, yes actually I am”
“‘Cuz I am a Cancer and we are supposed to mingle well together!”
“But you were born here, right? Doesn’t that make you American?”
“I’m from The Dominican Republic, so I’m Dominican!”
OK. No sense moving ahead with this, at a BAR of all places. So I silenced myself seeing I was getting nowhere and asked her age. 17. I then commented to a friend, who was considering enlisting in the military, that I thought it was a great idea. My new 17-year-old pundit/friend overheard me and said, “Oh, I would never join the military. This war is stupid and I hate George Bush!” Yes, she actually said that. All at once, too. Feeling like I was just told to discuss the ethical violations of The Third Reich to a Jewish Temple, I was mystified with where to begin setting this girl straight. Or, at least, letting her know that there are many flights back to the Dominican Republic on a daily basis. Perhaps she should board one. That is where she is from, after all…
I simply asked, “Why do you hate the war?”
“War is always wrong.”
“Do you know why this one, in particular, is wrong?”
She looked at me with utter disdain and said, “Oh no, are you one of those WAR people?”. I replied that I did not know what that was. Then she said, “Oh, and are you a BUSH-LOVER, too? You can’t be a BUSH-LOVER!” I definitely didn’t mean to get her started like this. It was both childishly charming and pathetic while still making me a bit angry. I simply did an ‘Ummmmm”
“You are? I guess you’re a GUN PERSON too and a REPUBLICAN! How can you be a REPUBLICAN? I don’t understand…” (finally she said something that made sense, she didn’t understand much at all)
So let’s sum this up so far. I will spare you the rest of this “conversation” because I believe that I have made my point clear. Let’s review:
This 17-year-old Dominican girl (not American, of course) has me labeled as the following, after a 3-minute dialogue:
This is a bit extreme, bit it is not unusual. Our frustration with the state of the world has begat a broiling, simmering hatred for all that is not our own. No opinions are acceptable unless they are our own, despite how little we know about issues on which we form an opinion. This, alone, is not terribly unusual. We live in a stressful time and we can get a bit clingy to our ideas, that’s okay. What is not okay is the labeling of others. These badges that I had earned in a passing conversation show how teenagers are growing up to view the world. To them, freedom means to form a strong opinion on something you know virtually nothing about, and apply a “from my cold dead hands” mentality about sticking with it.
Along with this terrible labeling disease is the will to give government a near God-like status where they will march in and cure all of our ills. We are looking at the 2008 candidates with a hunger in our eyes that seems to say, “What have you done for me lately and what will you do for me if elected?” This is not freedom, kids. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Sadly, freedom means that sometimes we’re on our own to deal with the trials of life. We can seek leadership from our elected officials. However, they cannot, and should not tell us how to live our lives. Nor should they have the power to heal or harm you directly. Government can set the stage and equip us with education. They can, in a sense, lead us to water. We must take it upon ourselves whether we, how much we, and when we drink. Freedom is not having water delivered and poured down our throats. However, with the stark convenience of on-demand society, it seems that a rapidly growing number of people would like to surrender their freedom to be “taken care of” by our government. Well, your movement lost, people. It was called Communism and it lost because it sucks. Look it up. Freedom is wonderful and worthy of our curiosity not capitulation. Freedom challenges us and makes us strong, independent people. This is exactly what modern people seem to fear. They seem to fear the hard road to self-empowerment that is the delicious fruit of freedom. It is easier to remain ignorant and simply shut out dissenting opinions while letting the government take care of everything.
Well, maybe it’s because I’m a VIRGO, or a GUN PERSON, but I love being and AMERICAN. I love freedom and I love our tireless defense of it. If you wish to remain ignorant, divisive, or refuse to embrace the term “American” and all that it represents, then I would be glad to direct you to the next flight leaving for the Dominican Republic.
Reverends don’t say the “f” word. Nor do they openly support a public figure, then attack him when he, unknowingly, speaks his mind in a not-so-dead mic before an interview on health care. Both of those previous statements, apparently, are super false! Yeah! The Reverend did say these terrible things, according to FOX News. He even held a press conference to “clarify” his statements. I guess he thought “clarify” meant give an inane lecture apropos for History 101 which was cause for the requisite sleeping listeners. Amazing. He supports Obama in public, then curses him violently in private? Could Reverend Jackson be a…HYPOCRITE? Time will tell. Stay tuned.
Barack Obama seems to embody all that liberals adore. Change is an exciting word that gives rise to a feeling of movement towards a better place. However, I find it hard to discern exactly what and how the Democrats will change. Also, I am not sure that we need all of this change.
I am, like most Americans, impressed by Obama’s charisma and passion. However, when we use history to measure our current political climate, it seems to show that, during times of military and economic troubles, the President often get battered by the media. FDR was lambasted during his Presidency for getting involved in a “European War” and meddling in affairs that didn’t involve the United States. Charles Lindbergh was a huge voice for “change” and was immensely popular. Lindbergh lashed out against the President and said we needed to pull out of Europe and stop supporting England. According to Lindbergh, the voice for change, young Americans would die for no reason in a war that was impossible to win. Lindbergh, like Obama, was a charismatic speaker and gained incredible popularity in the media. FDR stayed the course, despite his plummeting popularity in the media. The result was a victory so great that it freed all of Europe and thrust the United States into the undisputed title of world superpower. Aren’t we glad we did not “change” then? Or during the Civil War when Lincoln was incredibly unpopular for pursuing the emancipation of slaves? Or even Washington when the fledgling nation faced a formidable opposition to the Revolution and growing numbers of British loyalists? Aren’t we glad we didn’t go the popular route and change then?
I only wonder if we are experiencing the same type of challenge. As history shows, it is often, in troubled times, very difficult to press on. However, it also shows us that our greatest moments and victories as a nation came when we didn’t change and stuck to our decisions with the goal of protecting freedom in the world. Would it be a mistake to elect Obama only to see him unravel our resolve, embrace populism, and thwart our chances of succeeding in Iraq? As election time nears, this is becoming a prominent and important question. I am sure that all voters want to do what is best for our country in the long run. And change, although exciting, may not be what our country needs right now.