[S]he bought [a] plan and was approved on Nov. 22. Because by January the plan was still not showing up on her online Humana account, however, she repeatedly called to confirm that it was active. The agents told her not to worry, she was definitely covered.
Then on Feb. 12, just before going into (yet another) surgery, she was informed by Humana that it would not, in fact, cover her Sandostatin, or other cancer-related medications. The cost of the Sandostatin alone, since Jan. 1, was $14,000, and the company was refusing to pay. (WSJ)
Here are results from a 2008 paper on the relationship between breast cancer and type of health coverage in Rhode Island. Covering all breast cancer cases registered from 1996 to 2005, the data once again suggest that the uninsured fare almost as well as people on Medicaid.
The table below lists tumor size and stage at diagnosis by type of health coverage. When breast cancer victims on Medicaid are compared to those with private insurance, those on Medicaid have larger tumors at diagnosis and higher stage tumors. They also have more node positive tumors — tumors that have already spread to lymph nodes. This is cause for concern as survival rates are better for small tumors, tumors that are node negative, and those at stage 1 or below. Women on Medicaid who do have early stage tumors are also less likely to have surgery and, if they have surgery, to have surgery that removes only a part of their breast.
As people age their cells amass more potentially cancerous mutations. Given a long enough life, cancer will eventually kill you — unless you die first of something else. That would be true even in a world free from carcinogens and equipped with the most powerful medical technology…
Maybe someday some of us will live to be 200. But barring an elixir for immortality, a body will come to a point where it has outwitted every peril life has thrown at it. And for each added year, more mutations will have accumulated. If the heart holds out, then waiting at the end will be cancer. (More)
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)