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Where’s the outrage?
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, June 21, 2008

Do your remember the Nataline Sarkisyan story? The young woman needed a liver transplant which, if all went well, would extend her life by six months.
UCLA doctors put her on a list for a liver transplant Dec. 6 and a liver became available four days later, the family said. Her doctors told Cigna in a letter that patients in similar situations had a 65% chance of living six months if they received a liver transplant.

But the transplant was not done because Cigna deemed it experimental in Nataline’s case and refused to pay for it.
This became the cause celeb for those who want government managed health care and was pointed out as something which would never happen if the government was in charge. CIGNA eventually gave in to the intense pressure from outside groups and approved the surgery, but it was too late and Nataline Sarkisyan died.

If you read between the lines, what CIGNA said, without saying it was the cost could not be justified for the possibility of 6 more months of life. Their claim was the surgery was "experimental", but, in fact, we've been doing liver transplants for a while. Instead, it seems, the decision was made more from a cost/benefit perspective than an "experimental surgery" perspective.

But CIGNA was lambasted for its decision, called cruel and heartless and the poster company of all that is wrong with the health care system of this country and why we need government intervention.

However, a week or two ago a government system was highlighted making essentially the same decision. Canada chose to deport, rather than treat, a terminal cancer patient from the Philippines:

A Filipino nanny with terminal cancer in Toronto has been ordered back to her native country because of healthcare costs to the Canadian government.
Juana Tejada, 38, was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2006 after arriving on a federal three-year work permit as a live-in caregiver in 2003, but the disease has spread to her lungs, and she is now diagnosed as a terminal Stage Four cancer patient, the Toronto Star reported Monday.

Tejada asked Citizenship and Immigration Canada to reconsider her visa renewal but a letter from the agency denied the request.

"In the opinion of a medical officer, this health condition might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on health and social services," the letter said.
Nary a peep from the "government health care" crowd. Afterall, it's Canada. But Canada simply stated the reality of the case - the treatment cost would be excessive and provide no real benefit in terms of final outcome.

Now comes a story out of Oregon which ought to dispel all remaining doubts that the bottom line will drive a government run health care system just as it does a private one:
Lung cancer patient, Barbara Wagner, was recently notified that her oncologist-prescribed medication that would slow the growth of cancer would not be covered by the Oregon Health Plan; the plan, however, she was informed, would cover doctor-assisted suicide should she wish to kill herself.

"Treatment of advanced cancer that is meant to prolong life, or change the course of this disease, is not a covered benefit of the Oregon Health Plan," read the letter notifying Wagner of the health plan's decision.

Wagner says she was shocked by the decision. "To say to someone, we'll pay for you to die, but not pay for you to live, it's cruel," she told the Register-Guard. "I get angry. Who do they think they are?"
Well who they are, ma'am, is your sole provider of insurance from whom you have no appeal.

Read that bold line again and tell me the difference between what CIGNA decided and what Canada and the government run Oregon Health Plan decided?

On the whole, not a bit of difference that I see.

So where are all the articles about how awful this decision is? Where are the protests and angry denunciations?

Nowhere to be found.

The irony? The pharmaceutical company that makes the cancer drug that Wagner needs has called her and offered it to her free of charge.

Oregon health care providers say they've seen a noticable change in how Oregon's Health Services Commission has been willing to treat recurrent cancer in the state.

They won't pay to treat you, but they will pay to kill you - "legally" of course.
Wesley J. Smith, a prominent conservative bioethicist, says that he was not surprised by the events.

"We have been warning for years that this was a possibility in Oregon. Medicaid is rationed, meaning that some treatments are not covered. But assisted suicide is always covered. And now, Barbara Wagner was faced with that very scenario."
Brave new world, isn't it?
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Read that bold line again and tell me the difference between what CIGNA decided and what Canada and the government run Oregon Health Plan decided?

On the whole, not a bit of difference that I see.
Oh, I’d bet that CIGNA doesn’t cover and encourage patient assisted suicide...
Written By: shark
URL: http://
The spin, rationalizations, and torrential flow of illogic on this from MK, Erb, and the rest of their lefty ilk should be most entertaining.

I’m waiting for them to consult whatever Lib site they get their talking points from.
Written By: The Gonzman
URL: http://
The spin, rationalizations, and torrential flow of illogic on this from MK, Erb, and the rest of their lefty ilk should be most entertaining.
You will not hear a peep from the Left on this one.
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
I see a difference.

If I’m not mistaken, we aren’t exactly swimming in donor organs and I suspect that the liver is no different. At a minimum, a liver transplant consumes rare medical resources.

In the Canadian case, the treatment refused seems relatively routine. But it was still refused.

I think equating the two does the Canadian system a service it does not deserve.
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
"Brave new world, isn’t it?"

Not at all - it is what happens when liberals run things.

You get a hatred of living as opposed to dying. Wait until the liberals institute HillaryCare nationwide, and the elderly and sick people are told to their faces that it is cheaper for them to die than for this ridiculous system they will have created to treat or even cure them.

Alas, the dimwitted people who foisted this crappola on us will just smile at how well their Marxist pile of manure is doing. Just ask the people of Great Britain - their health care system is a disaster, and yet they are hesitant to get rid of it for fear of what else might be put in its place.

It is almost like stepping into dog crap but not changing your shoes because the store might be out of sneakers next week.

Written By: James Marsden
URL: http://
Which part of the idea that a very desirable but limited resource will be rationed by some means (price, government fiat, violence, whatever) don’t the National Health Care Morons understand? Probably all of it. Of course, it would never happen in such a manner as to discomfit them or those they hold dear, right? And there’s always an exception made for ’important’ people, like Al Gore, Ted Kennedy, Barbra Streisand, and favored ’victims’, right?
Written By: JorgXMcKie
URL: http://
Well, MK has been here, at least.

Still the sound of crickets.....
Written By: The Gonzman
URL: http://
For the sake of completeness, Cigna did refuse the transplant request initially, however, UCLA hospital agreed to perform the transplant anyway. The girl died because they had not found a suitable liver for her not because of Cigna’s decision.
Written By: jt007
URL: http://
But, it’s free. You can’t complain about it. If you are not paying for it, anything you do get is a bonus.
Written By: Is
URL: http://

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