Oregon state health plan will pay to kill you, but not keep you alive

posted at 2:00 pm on June 20, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Opponents of state-run medical insurance argue that government rationing would result in people being consigned to die.  Opponents of right-to-die legislation argue that it presents a slippery slope in which the state would eventually have people killed.  A harmonic convergence of sorts has taken place in Oregon which proves both points:

After weeks of bad news, things turned Barbara Wagner’s way this week.

Last month her lung cancer, in remission for about two years, was back. After her oncologist prescribed a cancer drug that could slow the cancer growth and extend her life, Wagner was notified that the Oregon Health Plan wouldn’t cover it.

It would cover comfort and care, including, if she chose, doctor-assisted suicide.

Excuse me?  Oregon’s state-run health care plan won’t cover a new drug that could extend her life — which is, after all, the entire point of health insurance and health care — but will gladly pay the bill if she decides to stop costing the state more money.   What’s next — a Logan’s Run option for “renewal” at 30?

Lady Logician wonders the same thing, as oncologists in Oregon report that this is not an isolated case:

This is the kind of “care” that all Americans (not just Minnesotans and Utahns) can expect should government run health care become a reality. Is this really the kind of care we want for our aging parents or our children or even ourselves? Somehow I think the answer is a resounding no!

Jazz Shaw:

Whenver I hear either of our presidential candidates shouting about health care reform I get a prickling senstion in my palms and a pronounced tic in my left eye. It’s not that we don’t have a need for health care and insurance improvements in our country – clearly there is work to be done. But I’ve been watching and participating in elections since Nixon’s day and all too often I’ve gawked as our Federal government’s well intentioned but ham handed attempts to “fix things” turn into a case of Ferdinand the bull trampling the flowers he was attempting to sniff. ….

This isn’t a case of bad doctors. This is a system following rules meant to improve the process which wind up veering off into realms better suited to science fiction.

It’s more than that. This is the entirely predictable result of the shift in thinking of human life as sacred to an entirely materialistic view.  Human life becomes a commodity, especially when the state has charge of it and responsibility for its costs.  When the state assumes the cost for the most personal and private functions of its citizens, the private and personal become public, and the limits of government disappear.

Do you like French fries?  Those cause heart disease, which costs the government X billions of dollars per year, so those are out.  How about tanning booths?  Skin cancer treatments cost $X billions, too, so we’ll outlaw those.  Finally, so what if you want to extend your life an extra couple of years?  You can’t generate enough revenue to make up for the cost of the treatment, so the state won’t allow it.  If you’d be so kind as to drop dead now, though, that will save some money for a badly-needed sex-change operation.

Fortunately, Wagner got rescued from her own state government.  Who played the hero?  The evil pharmaceutical company that produces the drug she needs, who gave it to her for free out of disgust.


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