As we’ve noted in this space in the past – while no health insurance provider has a room with the words “Death Panel” on an embossed brass plate on the door, the notion of allocation of services, including life-saving ones, to make sure scarce supplies of life-extending medicine and treatment go to the people who’ll gain the most usable lifespan, has been around for a long time. It’s an integral part of the HMO business model.
In other words, if they’ve got one liver available, and one person on the transplant list is a 32 year old marathon-running woman who’s never smoked, and one is a 62 year old diabetic smoker, you can guess who’s going to get the liver, and who’s going on “palliative care” right?
And while that decision may not be made by people whose job title says “Death Panelist”, if you’re the 62 year old diabetic, it’s all tomayto tomahto, right?
Anyway – to those who thought calling the above the equivalent of a “death panel’ was overreach, I present this:
About one-year ago, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the state’s assisted-suicide bill into law. It fully went into effect this June, with the opening of the first clinic. While there is no data on the number of California assisted-suicides, Oregon recorded over 130 last year as part of their legalized physician-assisted death program.
Now, one young mother says her insurance company denied her coverage for chemotherapy treatment after originally agreeing to provide the fiscal support for it, but indicated it would be willing to pay for assisted suicide instead.
No, it’s not just one woman:
“As soon as this law was passed – and you see it everywhere, when these laws are passed – patients fighting for a longer life end up getting denied treatment, because this will always be the cheapest option.”
Packer attends a support group for terminally ill patients. She said legally sanctioned suicide has changed the tone of the meetings, which used to be “positive and encouraging.” With patients under new societal pressure to kill themselves, she said meetings “became negative, and it started consuming people. And then they said, ‘You know what? I wish I could just end it.’”
There’s a website for patients concerned that insurance companies under price pressure are trying to strongarm them into killing themeselves.
Yep. It’s come to this.
So – you can’t keep your doctor, or the plan you like, your prices are going to rise, and if your life is inconveniently expensive for your insurer, it will try to kill you.