Breast Cancer Screening: Government Fires First Volley Of Rationing, Death By Medical Neglect

Let me begin by saying that the current versions of ObamaCare don’t have a single death panel.

It’s more like 111 separate death panels.

Some of the names  and acronyms of the dozens and dozens of bureaucracies are undoubtedly different under the new iteration of socialized medicine, but here’s a snapshot of your new health care system if Democrats get their way:

The Senate version is 2,075 pages of fun, I hear.  Nobody understands it.  And nobody is going to end up getting a chance to read it by the time it gets voted on.

If you thought that there was going to be any kind of transparency or accountability – or even honesty – from the Obama administration – you need to stop smoking your crack pipe.

This latest event in the march toward socialized medicine reminds me of the case of Barbara Wagner.  In Oregon, which has “universal coverage” through the state, she was abandoned to die by a system that would not pay for her cancer treatment, but offered to pay for her euthanasia.

Only this time, the government wants to deny treatment on the other side of the cancer diagnosis.

IBD Editorials

Rationing’s First Step

Health Care: A government task force has decided that women need fewer mammograms and later in life. Shouldn’t that be between patient and physician? We have seen the future of health care, and it doesn’t work.

We have warned repeatedly that the net results of health care bills before Congress will be higher demand, fewer doctors, more cost control, all leading to rationing.  New recommendations issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) regarding breast cancer and the necessity for early and frequent mammograms do not convince us otherwise.

Just six months ago, the panel, which works under the Health and Human Services Department as a “best practices” study group, was shouting its concern about a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showing a 1% drop in the number of women regularly undergoing such screening and prevention.

The task force was saying that women older than 40 should get a mammogram every one to two years. It found that frequent screening lowered death rates from breast cancer mostly for women ages 50 to 69. But that was then, and this is now.

“We’re not saying women shouldn’t get screened. Screening does save lives,” Diana Petiti, task force vice chairman, said of the recommendations published Tuesday in Annals of Internal Medicine. “But we are recommending against routine screening.”

Now the panel recommends that women in their 40s stop having routine annual mammograms and that older women should cut back to every two years. The concern allegedly is that too frequent testing can result in increased anxiety, false positives, unneeded follow-up tests and possibly disfiguring biopsies.  Preventing breast cancer and saving lives almost get lost in the new analysis.

“I have a particular concern in this case about who was involved in this task force,” says Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., who was a heart surgeon in private life. “There are no surgeons or oncologists who deal directly with breast cancer or even radiologists. … I’ve seen far too many young women develop late-stage breast cancer because they didn’t have adequate screening.”

Little, if anything, has happened medically in the last six months to cause such a shift. A lot, however, has happened politically as a health care overhaul has limped forward on life support. The Congressional Budget Office has been busy pricing these various bills, a process that includes screening and prevention.

As we have warned, the growing emphasis seems to be on cost containment rather than quality of care. About 39 million women undergo mammograms each year in America, costing the health care system more than $5 billion.

“The American Cancer Society continues to recommend annual screening using mammography and clinical breast examination for all women beginning at age 40,” says Otis Brawley, its chief medical officer. “Our experts make this recommendation having reviewed virtually all the same data reviewed by the USPSTF, but also additional data that the USPSTF did not consider.”

Daniel Kopans, a radiology professor at Harvard Medical School, says: “Tens of thousands of lives are being saved by mammography screening, and those idiots want to do away with it. It’s crazy — unethical, really.”

This, sadly, appears to be the future of medicine under government-run health care. Aside from taxes on insurers, providers and device manufacturers, we’ll be up to our eyeballs in cost-effectiveness boards that will decide who gets what tests and treatments, when and if. These are only recommendations for now, but they are the shape of things to come.

An IBD/TIPP poll found that 45% of medical doctors would consider retiring if the Congressional health care “reform” passes.  Given the fact that an increasing shortage of doctors is already one of the chief burdens in providing health care, this exodus would amount to a catastrophe that our health system would never recover from.

In Canada, the chronic doctor shortage has been bad enough that patients literally have to sign up for a lottery in order to have a chance to “win” a primary care physician.  But now we are learning that overwhelmed Canadian doctors are using a lottery of their own to dump patients.

Why on earth would anyone want this for America?

The Obama administration is preparing the health delivery system to implement the philosophy of Obama advisers such as Robert Reich, Ezekiel Emanuel, and Cass Sunstein, which can be easily summarized with the quote:

It’s too expensive…so we’re going to let you die.”

Robert Reich’s words in context only make the hateful idea sound even more hateful:

And by the way, we’re going to have to, if you’re very old, we’re not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years of your life to keep you maybe going for another couple of months. It’s too expensive…so we’re going to let you die.”

Then there are the words of Obama’s Regulatory Czar, Cass Sunstein, who wrote:

“I urge that the government should indeed focus on life-years rather than lives. A program that saves young people produces more welfare than one that saves old people.”

And Rahm Emanuel’s brother Ezekiel, whom Obama appointed as his OMB health policy adviser in addition to selecting him to serve on the Federal Council on Comparative Effectiveness Research wrote:

“When implemented, the Complete Lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuatedThe Complete Lives system justifies preference to younger people because of priority to the worst-off rather than instrumental value.”

“Attenuated” means, “to make thin; to weaken or reduce in force, intensity, effect, quantity, or value.”  Attenuated care would be reduced or lessened care.  Dare I say it, in this context it clearly means, “rationed care.”

And Obama himself told a woman who wanted to keep her aging mother alive:

“At least we can let doctors know — and your mom know — that you know what, maybe this isn’t going to help. Maybe you’re better off, uhh, not having the surgery, but, uhh, taking the painkiller.”

YOU take the painkiller rather than have that lifesaving surgery, Barry Hussein.  And why don’t you insist that Michelle and your two daughters take the pill rather than have that lifesaving surgery, too?  Just to be like all the “little people” out there.

But of course that’s not going to happen.  Rather, Democrats have now exempted themselves from 11 separate amendments that would have required them to have the same ObamaCare that they want to force everyone else to have.

You can understand why they would do so, given the promises that the system will be worse than terrible, and due to the fact that even a complete idiot who looks around and sees how horribly the administration has managed the H1N1 vaccine situation can recognize that taking on 1/6th of the economy would be beyond catastrophic.  I mean, heck, if I were a Democrat, I’d be sure to exempt myself from this monstrosity too, lest MY family members fall under the coming steamroller.

This “recommendation” of reducing mammographies isn’t mandatory now, but that’s because the government hasn’t usurped the health care system yet.  You just wait a decade from now, when the government runs everything, and soaring deficits force them to start cutting costs.

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4 Responses to “Breast Cancer Screening: Government Fires First Volley Of Rationing, Death By Medical Neglect”

  1. Dr. Gerald DuBrino, PhD Says:

    Funny thing about Ezekiel Emanuel’s “Support” Of the Complete Lives Health System
    He qualifies his support by saying. “The first thing to do before implementing this system is to get rid of the waste and corruption in Health Care”
    Why didn’t the Obama Team Listen to his very first suggestion in supporting this system.
    Hmmm too much like work. Or Too many lobbyists and SEIU people visiting the White House.

  2. Michael Eden Says:

    Dr. DuBrino,

    It is amazing that such hateful ideas as Ezekiel Emanuel’s are being smuggled in with so few paying attention. The Obama administration literally intends for old people (who have lived their “complete lives” under their plan) to shove off and die to make room for others and save the government money.

    Then we find all the bogus promises. We’re going to get rid of waste and corruption. And we’re so sure of that that we’ll just factor that in as though we’re already saving that money. And then we’ll use that money to pay for our health care takeover so it sounds like we’re paying hardly anything at all for it.

    Lies and more lies, all wrapped around a core of genuine evil.

  3. Dr. Gerald DuBrino, PhD Says:

    Esekiel Emanuel is the architect of the health care bill.
    Dianna Pettitti already chaired the “Goverment Task Force” that found that it wasn’t neccessary for women in their forties to have mammograms.
    She and Emanuel sat on panels together and she (in my opinion) was the omen of things to come. The “complete lives system” states that (17) 84 year olds are worth (1) 15 year old in a rationing scenario.
    The health care bill wants to transcend from a “medical triage” to an “economic triage” What is your worth to society? Are you worth treating from and economic standpoint. That’s exactly what Pettitti stated.
    It doesn’t put grandma at the back of the line. It takes her out of line completely. So..Sarah Palin’s “Death Squad” statement is not as insane as the progressives make it out to be.

  4. Michael Eden Says:

    What is your worth to society?

    Oh! OH! I can answer that one: if you’re an 84-year old, you’re worth 1/17th of a 15-year old. Which is to say, if you are fifteen years old, you are worth seventeen 84-year olds. At least, according to Barry Hussein and his team of moral relativists.

    “Economic triage” is a very good way to put it. Democrats want to 1) take over the system; 2) make it a power base, meaning that you either vote for Democrats, or the house-of-card system they want to build will fall apart; 3) profit from the power base by unionizing the system which gives millions in union dues to Democrats in the form of political contributions, and creating a Democrat foothold that we will never be able to get rid of; 4) turn the system into a politically-connected boondoggle, such that liberals make other liberals rich.

    Which, btw, is basically exactly what liberals did with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    They aren’t going to improve the system; rather, they are going to eat it like locust swarms eat crops.

    Good points, Dr. DuBrino. Thank you for your comment.

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