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…)
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.
I am lost with the logic here. Obama and Clinton did not have massive rifts between their views. Both are solid Democrats with their own blend of experience, passion, and charisma. Now, the root of the situation facing the Democratic part as if nears the Convention in Denver is to solidify a clear stance on important issues. All issues actually, but that may be asking a bit much from the “Anti-Bush” platform that seeks to, in their own words, “Undo everything Bush has done to get our country in such a mess.”
Well, it goes without saying that, if elected, the first African-American President will bring a unique and vastly different style of Executive leadership. But he, and the Democrats as a whole cannot run on the “Anti-Bush” platform any longer. It is a moot point. The man will be displaced from the White House next year and replaced with a new tenant. So, get down to details Dems and start establishing your party as one with a mind to think without “unthinking”. We need a very strong, decisive leader this term. America must feel like our safety and finances are being taken seriously with new programs to use, no longer ignore, the passionate cries of the regular people in becoming a Party For The People. This will fail, however, unless Obama can tone down the rousing speeches a bit to illuminate policy plans as they relate to the betterment of the Union. Democrats weakness that will easily be spotlighted with consistency and intensity is their lack of ideas beyond those that induce applause during a campaign speech. Time to get real kids and craft a plan to somehow outdo a candidate from the GOP who is a venerated war hero and one of the most effective Senators on Capitol Hill. Critics say, “So What? He was captured and held prisoner in a VC prison for a couple of years. This is not bravery. Well, kids, here’s the skinny: McCain never sold out his country, Unit or Secrets to gain freedom from the camp. He refused to give up sensitive information despite being tortured and nearly starved to death. His bravery and resolve will be hard to refute without substantial IDEAS.
And no, simply promising to “Undo what Bush has done” won’t get you anywhere. Americans want answers. Time to stand and deliver Senator Obama. Lay it all out and use your sharp intellect to elevate the campaign beyond mere brute force. You have the talent to lead our country to better places. Time to start firing those brain bullets. Hit ’em with all you’ve got. Fresh ideas delivered with your trademark charisma will go a long way to securing your chair in the Oval Office. Resist the rhetorical anti-Bush crapola. Deliver substance and we will deliver you a nice tudor home in Washington, D.C. – on us (the taxpayers)
I have a feeling that is unusual and I would like to share it with you. Simply put: I like Barack Obama, I just don’t think I would vote for him. He has an incredible charisma and Kennedy-like likability (like, like, like). Perhaps that would qualify him as an outstanding Secretary of State or as an Ambassador. I just don’t see clearly what he stands for other than a charming leader of a liberal front that may (or may not) be a salve for a nation mired in hardline thinking that has, well, been hard to live with. P.S. – Are we ready for a black President? I see no reason why not. I, however, am not the majority it seems. As we have seen in past elections of late, our country leans to the Right and may not accept this leap. I believe that if Obama comes out with a powerful agenda in the coming year that appeals to the war-weary nation as well as pacifies the super-duper Right, he may have a shot at charming his way into Casa Blanca.
Tough Mama – Hillary Clinton has such a juicy last name and an infinite warchest for waging the battle of the almighty diggity-dollar. She seems a bit more clear on her stand when it comes to important issues. She will be on the side of opportunity. She got away with pulling a fast one on New York as she moved here and became Senator all too quickly. Is it possible to represent a constituency that you’ve only just become a part of? Well, she’s done an okay job in the cushy halls of Capitol Hill. However, are the country and the armed forces ready for a female Commander-In-Chief? If so, is she tough enough? I don’t see it in her. However I am in the minority. She is the front runner. We still have a year to go and a lot can happen. Don’t count Edwards out. He’s a smarty. I find it interesting that our two premier choices on the Democratic side are a Black Freshman Senator who was schooled in Saudi-sponsored Madrasas for a short time and A female ex-First Lady who claims, in her book, that she had no idea that Bill was cheating on her, or even prone to such behavior. I doubt the vigilance of a woman who didn’t at least KINDA see that coming. Will she notice the armies invading after they’ve sacked the city? Who knows. Interesting days though. I will try to dig out some thought nuggets and string them through the landscape of this site Hopefully y’all will post some of your own nuggets and let me know what’s REALLY going on out there.
God Bless America. She Rocks…