Health Care

Dec. 17: The Day Gov. May Start Rationing Health Care

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A Date that Could Live in Infamy

Remember this date. It could change everything we know about Washington.

I am not talking about Election Day, November 2nd. I am talking about December 17th, a day when the federal government could begin rationing care for women, the sick and the elderly based on the cost of the treatment.

Right before Christmas, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is scheduled to decide whether to “de-label” the cancer drug Avastin for breast cancer patients. Avastin has been proven to extend the life of cancer patients. It is certainly not a cure but on average, it extends life by six months. Some patients respond even more favorability – living years. De-Labeling the drug will allow insurance companies and Medicare to deny coverage.

Why is Avastin being considered for “de-labeling”? Its cost. In an era where the government is being mandated to reduce its spending on health care, the drug does not appear to fit a new cost-benefit standards concocted by the FDA.

Cost-benefit?  The FDA isn’t supposed to consider the cost of the drug in its approval process.  Jean Grem of the FDA’s Oncology Drug Advisory Committee was cited in the Wall Street Journal explaining why she voted to deprive breast cancer patients of Avastin: “We aren’t supposed to talk about cost, but that’s another issue.”

Welcome to ObamaCare. The Avastin issue is important for breast cancer patients but it is even more critical for the future of our health care system. If care is denied because of budgetary constraints, our health care system will be turned upside down. The rich will get access to drugs and the poor, middle class and elderly will rely on the decision of government bureaucrats to determine whether they get access to critical treatments.

Susan Komen Foundation was the first to raise concern over Avastin. Now the National Comprehensive Cancer Network – an alliance of 21 cancer treatment centers – has affirmed the need for access to the drug for their patients.

December 17th is less than two months away. American health care could see a radical change should cancer patients be denied treatment their doctors want access too.