The administration has announced that the Democrat House majority will remove Section 1233 from HR3200 – the House version of Obamacare. This is the so-called death panel provision.
I hope no one who reads this blog is so naive as to believe this settles the matter.
The administration still intends to control medical costs by
(1) reducing fraud and waste
(2) reducing admin cost thru a single payer mechanism and
(3) limiting payments for Americans' medical treatments.
That third objective will not go away. Section 1233 has been put aside for the moment, as a political expedient to induce people who disagree with Obamacare to quiet down and get out of the way.
Meanwhile, anyone remember Barbara Wagner? Her case illustrates exactly what governments do when they are in charge of medical care. This case predicts how the Federal Government will administer a single-payer medical insurance plan.
Wagner is an Oregon woman whose cancer returned from remission in early 2008 [ed: and about whom we blogged here]. Wagner was covered under the Oregon Health Plan (a Medicaid plan). Her doctor prescribed a new cancer drug for her. But the State of Oregon health plan denied payment for the medicine. It wrote Wagner a letter, stating the plan would pay for comfort care, including "physician aid in dying," - - that’s better known in Oregon as assisted suicide.
Wagner appealed the State’s decision twice and the State denied her appeal both times.
But the the state assured Wagner that there was no malice intended:
“Dr. Som Saha, chairman of the commission that sets policy for the Oregon Health Plan, said Wagner is making an "unfortunate interpretation" of the letter and that no one is telling her the health plan will only pay for her to die.
See? No malice. Only an “unfortunate interpretation.” All better now, right?
Technically this story proves the Obama administration is telling the truth.
There may be a commission, but no officials are “telling us” it is a death panel. I mean now really, who would tell us that anyway? Fer cryin out loud, it’s a HEALTH Plan Commission. HEALTH, not death. Don’t you see, health has nothing to do with death? So, everyone can stop worrying. No government official is telling us that there will be death panels. That must mean if you don’t get the care your doctor prescribes, it’s just “unfortunate”. People who say otherwise are uninformed. People who say otherwise are repeating fishy things and should be reported to the authorities.
Oh yeah – Barbara Wagner died. May God bless her.
It is sad that her story has receded from public memory - thanks in no small part to our bumbling media – while buffoons like Nancy Pelosi are given the headlines. But you can be certain that the tactics by which the administration intends to reduce medical care spending will impose limits on government payments. And that will mean fewer treatments available for people who are receiving them now.