Kent Pankow lives in Edmonton, in a province and a country that is trying to either kill him or bankrupt him.I wonder, in regard to those "death panels" that have been so "thoroughly debunked," what do we make of the Alberta Cancer Board that gets to make decisions about whether or not Kent can even undergo the surgery to remove his tumor? I'm sure that board in Alberta is not at all similar to the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research that was created with funds buried in the porkulus bill.
No sense mincing words.
Suffering from brain cancer, Kent Pankow was literally forced to go to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. for lifesaving surgery — at a cost to family and friends of $106,000 — after the health-care system in Alberta left him hanging in bureaucratic limbo for 16 crucial days, his tumour meanwhile migrating to an unreachable part of the brain, while it dithered over his case file, ultimately deciding he was not surgery worthy.
Now, with the Mayo Clinic having done what the Alberta Cancer Board wouldn’t authorize or even explain, but with the tumour unable to be totally removed, the province will now not fund the expensive drug, Avastin, that the Mayo prescribed to keep him alive and keep the remaining tumour from increasing in size — despite the costs of the drug being totally funded by the province for other forms of cancer.
Kent Pankow, as it turns out, has the right disease but he has it in the wrong place.
Had he lung cancer, breast cancer, or colon cancer, then the cost of the drug — $4,555 per treatment, two times a month — would be totally covered by Alberta’s version of OHIP.
No, I'm sure that the this comparative effectiveness council, once they review all of the pertinent information will make very reasonable recommendations as to which treatments are cost effective, particularly regarding elderly patients or patients with poor prognoses. And I'm sure that as the government has more and more control over our health care and is required to cut costs, as all health systems with a one-size-fits-all bureaucracy lording over every decision made must do at some point, that they will not seize upon the findings of this comparative effectiveness research council to reject or ban various treatments or drugs. No, that would never happen.
One of the biggest problems with any sort of government run health care is that because everyone is forced to pay, we all start becoming busybodies, concerned with the way other people live their lives and the status of their health. Of course, if one is paying mucho dinero into a government run system, or even just a system in which the government plays a large part via subsidies, exchanges, a public "option," or useless and inefficient mandates and regulations, then one is going to start paying attention to how everyone else behaves.
Is your neighbor eating too much fast food?! Who smokes cigarettes?! Why is your coworker's elderly aunt receiving treatment for her cancer when they've given her only a few months to live anyway?! It pits us all against each other, making us all watchdogs to ensure that our neighbors aren't using up more of the resources than "should be" allotted to them. If you look across the pond at England, the signs of this are already well underway, and it is a creepy sight to behold.
No. I would much rather live in a society that allows people the freedom to live their lives the way they see fit, eating cheeseburgers or smoking if that makes them happy, because I am not forced to be responsible for their health care.
Ed Morrissey provides some very good analysis of Kent's situation, and he comments on the argument that our current health insurance companies may make the same decisions as did the Alberta Cancer Board:
Some will say that the runaround happens in America, too, with private insurers. And they’d be right. However, people in America have the ability to move to different insurers when they get lousy service, and still get treatment in their own country. They don’t have to flee across an international border to get medical attention.Yes, indeed.
Freedom makes a huge difference.
Just say no to the nanny state.