In a move that threatens to further inflame concerns about the rationing of medical care, the nation’s leading association of cancer physicians issued a list on Wednesday of five common tests and treatments that doctors should stop offering to cancer patients.
You’re darned right it will “further inflame concerns.” Consider what they want to cut:
Following the science, however, can lead to conclusions that do not sit well with all patients. Shari Baker, who was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer eight years ago and has been in remission since 2007, has already felt the brunt of one of the recommendations: that patients who have been successfully treated for breast cancer and have no symptoms of cancer not undergo CT, PET, other imaging, or bone scans to check for a recurrence or spread of the disease, known as metastasis.
“As a survivor of bone metastasis — the breast cancer had spread to my spine — after my doctor told me I was clear those PET scans were my peace of mind,” said Baker, a jewelry designer in Scottsdale, Ariz. “By the time you have symptoms it’s too late.”
It’s especially ironic that the government is running pro-ObamaCare ads touting how the controversial law covers screenings, whereas this board wants to cut some of those same screenings.
One recommendation likely to stir controversy, and even revive charges of “death panels,” is to not use chemotherapy and other treatments in patients with advanced solid-tumor cancers such as colorectal or lung who are in poor health and did not benefit from previous chemo.
Now, imagine if this wasn’t just a panel of physicians with little actual power to enforce their diktats, but was instead a panel of unelected bureaucrats with the power to make real cuts in what ObamaCare covers and doesn’t cover, cuts that are extremely difficult to overturn — in other words, IPAB.
The current health insurance system does have its flaws, there’s no argument about that, but there is one big advantage to having multiple insurers competing for business: if one insurer won’t cover a procedure that a patient and physician — working together — think would be of benefit, the patient has the ability to shop around to find an insurer that will cover it. ObamaCare sets the stage for a single-payer plan, with IPAB calling the shots, and if the government is the only insurer, there’s no chance to move to a different one that would cover things the government won’t. What we need to do is to open up the market, for example by extending the tax break for employer-provided health insurance to any health insurance, whether provided by the employer or purchased by an individual.