The political logic of socialized medicine becomes colder and crueler in its display.
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Josh explains the message from the FDA’s decision to his mother, and to the American people:
By denying approval for this drug, the FDA is basically telling my mother and my family that her life just isn’t worth the price. They’re robbing her of a chance to celebrate her 30th wedding anniversary with my dad, or to see my little sister who is in kindergarten graduate from high school…. Avastin has given my mom priceless time — time to spend with me, my siblings, my father and all her other family and friends. No woman should ever be denied that opportunity by our government.”
The Susan G. Komen Foundation opposed the FDA’s action. So did the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, a cancer patients’ advocacy organization. The U.S. National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of 21 top cancer centers that issues medical guidelines based clinical evidence, also supports the continued availability of Avastin for breast cancer. Even in Europe, where health care rationing is prevalent, the European Medicines Agency, which is the FDA for the European Union, ruled last week that Avastin would continue to be available for breast cancer treatment there.
To no avail. In America, the FDA has spoken. Those super responders to Avastin like Mrs. Turnage, if not Mrs. Turnage herself, must die, the sooner the better.
As Sally Pipes wrote at Forbes.com last week, “Government drug rationing isn’t going to stop at Avastin.” The FDA decision is a straw in the wind, indicating an ominous turn in American medicine, if doctors, patients, and the American people do not fight back. What is needed is not a stop gap solution applying only to Avastin. The FDA must be fundamentally reformed, as specified below.
Avastin works by cutting off the blood supply to tumors, causing them to wither and die. It is still in use for the treatment of kidney, colon, lung, and brain cancers. Because of that, doctors can still legally prescribe Avastin even for breast cancer “off label,” which means for a use not approved by the FDA. But the treatment costs $88,000 a year. The FDA didn’t say so, but that cost is the real reason for its action.
The FDA’s decision means that Medicare and Medicaid will likely refuse to pay for the drug for breast cancer. These government programs do not pay for costly medicines where not FDA approved. This in turn provides the legal foundation for private insurance companies to now refuse payment for the treatment as well. They are not legally obligated to pay for costly therapies denied FDA approval and rejected by Medicare and Medicaid. Otherwise, they could be forced to pay for dances by Indian Medicine Men to cure cancer.
Ignorant liberals running your mouths about insurance company rationing, take note of how this works. No insurance company has the power to weigh costs against benefits, and tell you that your health if not your life is not worth the money. But the government has now arrogated to itself the power to do precisely that. That is the meaning of the Avastin decision.
When a third party, not the patient with his doctor’s advice, weighs your health and life in the balance like this, I call it Fascism. It is a perfect analogue to Nazi practices, and we are not going to accept that in America. The American people need to go to war now against the FDA.
But the FDA decision is just one symptom of that more ominous, fundamental turn in American medicine mentioned above. The decision reflects a new fashion rising among America’s Ruling Class, the imperious “judgment” that the latest, most advanced medical care for America’s most seriously ill is too costly and not worth it.
The great virtue of American medicine is that it provides to the broad public, rather than just to the rich as in some enclaves around the world, the latest, most technologically and scientifically advanced health care on the planet for the most sick. Those suffering from cancer and heart disease, seniors suffering from the infirmities of advancing age, premature babies born smaller than your hand, are consequently rescued from premature death and incapacitating suffering far more than anywhere else on earth.
It should be no surprise that most health care spending is actually spent on the sick. That is what health care is for. But that is a big revelation to bloodthirsty progressives in the Ruling Class. In their emerging view, so much could be saved if we would just cut off the costly health care for the sickest and most vulnerable, and they would just fulfill their social responsibility by dying a cheap natural death that would not so burden the glorious Welfare State.
But what else could we better spend our money on but our health and our very lives and those of our loved ones? The progressives in the Ruling Class have their own dark answer to that question.
The rising anti-health care fashion is fueled by the realization of those in the know with access to the levers of power that they can buy far more votes spending all that money elsewhere than on health care for the sickest and most vulnerable. Those suffering from cancer and heart disease are too weak and sick to be relentless, effective political advocates. They may well be dead before they can even vote in the next election. Far more votes can be bought spending that money on younger, healthy voters who will be around a long time to work on, contribute to, and support campaigns and the progressives’ Ruling Class political machine. Maybe spend it on more welfare for young families, or on more corporate subsidies for the endless “Green Energy” funding drain.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?