Death Panels in Oregon

In August, Oregon’s Health Evidence Review Commission issued an update to its guidelines for providing cancer treatment to low-income individuals covered by the state Medicaid program. These new guidelines require that Medicaid deny coverage for certain cancer treatments for patients that have been deemed “too” sick, haven’t responded well to previous treatments, or can’t care for themselves.

Through these new rules, Oregon state bureaucrats are severely restricting access to care and dooming potentially thousands of local patients to a premature death.

What’s worse [is] that these new Medicaid guidelines are not grounded in the medical literature or best clinical practices, according to Kenneth Thorpe, chairman of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease. Rather, according to Thorpe, they’re based “on the odds of survival observed in a group of patients.” (More)

Comments (13)

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  1. Dewaine says:

    Do you think Sarah Palin will receive any apologies?

  2. Keith says:

    This is absolute hypocrisy. How did they come to the conclusion that these people aren’t worth spending money on?

    • JD says:

      Because they aren’t, from a third-party perspective anyway. This underlies why the whole system is outrageous. People need to be able to allocate their money based on their own needs, not someone else’s. Even if we find a way to not kill people, all of us are harmed by this perversion of incentives.

      • JFA says:

        The issue is that it is not the patients’ money but someone else’s. Saying that the state will not pay for this or that procedure is not equivalent to killing someone, just like putting restrictions on the types of food that food stamps can buy is not the equivalent of taking the filet mignon out of somebody’s mouth.

        Is there a better set up for public health programs? Undoubtedly. Most likely involving cash grants. But in any public health program, there will and should be limitations to the care the state provides, whether explicitly through review commissions or implicitly through the amount of money provided by cash grants.

  3. Rutledge says:

    Shouldn’t taxpayers be thanking Oregon’s Health Evidence Review Commission?

    • JD says:

      Yes, and that’s the problem. This makes sense from a public perspective. Think about that: killing people makes sense from a public perspective.

      • Dewaine says:

        You are right, JD. This is the inevitable result of a socialized system because that is how the incentives are aligned.

      • Rutledge says:

        That’s a bit extreme. But I see the logic is not spending tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars on someone who is not going to live any longer from the treatment.

      • Steve says:

        I must have misread, I thought the cancer was killing people but it was really the government not spending money that wouldn’t stop them from dying soon and probably wouldn’t even delay death for many of them.

  4. Sabal says:

    Where is the outrage over this? People should be rioting in the streets

  5. Steve says:

    John Goodman, the man who is fine with not having insurance but is in outraged if the insurance they have isn’t “good enough”

    He’s a difficult man to understand, probably because you cannot use reason to understand his positions.