Tag: "cancer"

ObamaCare Plan Refuses to Cover Cancer Patient Treatment

[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)

Breast Cancer and Government Coverage versus Private Health Insurance

Increase-in-Breast-Reconstruction-After-Womens-Health-Law-EnactedHere 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.

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen

UPINoBamaCareWellPoint: Surge in doctor visits prior to Jan 1 because of worries about the effects of ObamaCare.

Did Sen. Coburn lose his cancer doctor because of ObamaCare?

Julie Applebee calls out the president on his claim that 9 million people have signed up for health insurance.

39% of the uninsured: ObamaCare has made us worse off.

Hits and Misses

IDavid-M_-assisted-suicides there a right to die?

Could the next president wave the individual mandate altogether?

A blow to cook book medicine: Scientists aim to tailor prostate cancer therapy to a patient’s cell activity.

A second blow: Using DNA to custom-fit drug treatments.

Why Everyone Eventually Gets Cancer

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)

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen

521063-fish-oilModern day snake oil: Fish oil benefits oversold.

Massachusetts exchange having the same technical glitches as other states.

More than eight in ten U.S. cancer specialists have struggled to find the drugs they need to best treat their patients.

Britain’s NHS: Mothers were abandoned by their midwives during labour; serious hospital mistakes happen as often as five times a week.

More on the NHS: Over the last six months, there have been 37 cases of patients who received surgery on the wrong part of their body.

Headlines I Wish I Hadn’t Seen

dc_rallymay609Obama Justice Department takes poor black kids to court.

P4P in Canada results in little or no improvement.

Fewer than 1,000 Spanish speaking Californians have enrolled in ObamaCare.

IRS audits cancer patient who is ObamaCare critic.

Hits and Misses

Is a health insurance exchange a Republican idea?

Access to care in many rural areas may be far better than is usually assumed.

Can an electronic nose detect cancer?

Megan McArdle: Without antibiotics, life would be nasty, brutish and very short.

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)

Regulation of Cancer Drugs is More Complicated than You Think

Here is why it’s so hard for terminally ill patients to get compassion access to unapproved drugs:

Onaccess_deniedly 6 percent of early-stage cancer drugs ever come to market, because many are found to have severe side effects or simply don’t work. Given those odds, companies hesitate to do anything to jeopardize a product too soon. If they give drugs away, a disastrous side effect or other poor outcome could spur bad publicity and extra scrutiny from regulators. Even more important, if doctors simply let people take untested medicines without going through all the clinical trials, drug companies would most likely never get anyone to enroll in them, never get the data on safety and efficacy for F.D.A. approval and never pass the gateway to big sales. “Even if patients with cancer are willing buyers,” writes George Annas, a Boston University expert on medical law, “drug manufacturers are not willing sellers.” (More)