Coming cuts to your cancer care

Elizabeth Lee Vliet's picture

ObamaCare’s promises to cut costs really mean cutting care, especially expensive cancer care, which often occurs at what will soon be the “end of life.” America’s leading position in cancer care will fall off a cliff, taking your life with it.

The “changes” to be forced on us starting in 2013 do not provide “hope.” For cancer patients, ObamaCare’s “change” is a drastic threat to your survival.

ObamaCare deals a body blow to our state of the art cancer treatment. Multiple “hits” in the healthcare bill include:

(1) Medicare fee cuts to cancer specialists, resulting in payments that may be below the cost of staying in business;

(2) cutbacks in coverage for the screening tests that pick up early cancers, such as prostate specific antigen (PSA), mammograms, Pap smears, and colonoscopies;

(3) onerous and costly government mandates and regulations, interfering in physician-patient decisions for allowed treatments;

(4) de-labeling (i.e., disapproving) some cancer drugs to save money, already started with Avastin for aggressive late stage breast cancer, and

(5) denials of life-saving treatments, copying the UK’s National Health Service rationing board (Dr. Donald Berwick’s stated goal). The UK rationing board (N.I.C.E.) now denies many new cancer drugs for leukemia, multiple myeloma, stomach, lung, breast and prostate cancers.

Other ObamaCare hits to cancer care: new taxes on medical devices and drugs for state of the art treatment; reduced approvals for and delays in access to diagnostic MRIs and CT scans; and a projected doctor shortage of 91,000 in 10 years, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges, and as high as 200,000 estimated by Merritt, Hawkins and Associates.

Adding a further knock-out punch: the worst newly created ObamaCare feature – the Independent Payment Advisory Board. IPAB sets up government appointed experts mandated to control your medical care.

This new IPAB subverts our normal appeal and review process because this government panel is completely independent and not subject to review by Congress, judges, or medical experts. Under ObamaCare rules, decisions of the IPAB cannot be overturned or appealed.

IPAB is structured to keep their decisions isolated from our ability as patients and physicians to influence them or to have a voice in our medical treatment.

Even more diabolical, the ObamaCare bill restricts the right of future Congresses to amend or appeal this legislation. There is only a short two-week window of time in late January 2017 during which this board could be discontinued, and only with a supermajority vote in Congress. It is unprecedented to have such an attempt to restrict future Congressional decisions.

It is an ugly picture. Government panels focused on cutting costs instead of saving lives when the USPHS Task Force recommended cutting back mammograms for women in the fall of 2009.

Their reduced screening recommendation was not based on new medical information. It was based on cost analysis. They admitted we saved more lives by starting to screen women with mammograms at age 40, but it cost more to save those lives. Your life became a number for the bean counters.

The outcry from women’s groups, cancer specialists, radiologists and other physicians resulted in political pressure that stopped that change. But will we be able to stop it again as costs mount and the new head of Medicare and Medicaid, Dr. Donald Berwick, pushes forward with his stated goal of “rationing with our eyes open”?

Be very clear: ObamaCare cutbacks will affect the quality and timeliness of your cancer care. Ironically and in a cruel twist, it is YOUR taxpayer money being “saved” by rationing YOUR care.

The political elite, however, including members of Congress, who voted for this monstrosity, will continue to have rapid access to the best diagnostic and treatment options, as has always happened with government-run medicine.

You suffer the effects of rationing and cutbacks. The political elite do not.

Which will you choose?

(1) ObamaCare promises of “free” healthcare like Canada and Britain ... with a shorter life?

Or

(2) You and your doctor keeping the right to decide on life-saving cancer treatment, free of government control ... and with it a chance to live longer?

In the United States, we now have a 92 percent survival rate for prostate cancer vs. the UK’s 51 percent; a 35 percent longer survival rate for colon cancer compared with the British; a 25 percent longer survival for breast cancer than European women; and 50 percent of the new cancer drugs launched in the last decade.

Men in the United States have a 66 percent survival for 16 different types of cancer. In Europe, the survival is 47 percent for the same 16 cancers.

Americans enjoy a 90 percent survival for five cancers: prostate, breast, thyroid, testicular and melanoma. In Europe, only one cancer in one country has a 90 percent survival rate (testicular) (France). World leaders frequently come here for their cancer treatment.

Do you want “change” to mean a higher cancer death rate and lower survival?

On November 2, you decide.

[Elizabeth Lee Vliet, M.D. is a women’s health specialist and the Founder of HER Place: Health Enhancement Renewal for Women, Inc. with medical practices in Tucson, Ariz., and Dallas, Texas. Dr. Vliet is President of International Health Strategies, Ltd., a global healthcare and education service company whose mission is twofold: liberty in the choice of treatment options and preservation of the Hippocratic tradition of focus on the individual patient.]

Courthouserules
Courthouserules's picture
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Joined: 07/02/2010
Another "open-pocketbook" doctor

....strictly wanting her private treatment facility similar to "Cancer Treatment Centers of America," where the government won't pay them fully for "hope" talks and BS!

Don't you trust doctor's in general? All I know will see that cancer patient get what they need to prevent suffering until possible death and the new health plan will take care of that.

Do you have any idea as to how many billions float into these "special flowery word" hospitals above and beyond what is paid to Emory or Piedmont hospitals now?

If they had a cure for cancer in an elderly person or anyone else, all hospitals would have it!

We also don't need a bunch of hospitals for use of the wealthy only, which are subsidized by Medicare.

We also could freeze people's head as is Ted Williams' head, for future resuscitation!

Chris P. Bacon
Chris P. Bacon's picture
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Joined: 02/28/2010
"Doctor" Vliet's scare tactics

Note: I uses quotation marks below to indicate my displeasure/disbelief below. I learned this tactic from the "writings" of "Doctor" Vliet.

"Doctor" Elizabeth Vliet's lastest scare tactic is to demonize the IPAB, which is an independent healthcare review panel authorized by the recent Health Care Reform legislation.

What "Doctor" Vliet conveniently leaves out of her rant is the actual mechanism used by IPAB. The IPAB is permitted by statute to bring healthcare spending by the government in line with specified spending targets. They do NOT limit access to procedures, they merely recommend what Medicare can reimburse a doctor for a given procedure.

Here is what "Doctor" Vliet conveniently left out: Congress can vote to override the IPAB's recommendation, and the President can veto any legislative permission by Congress. AND the Congress can override the President's veto with the usual 2/3 majority. Not one, not two, but THREE safeguards on the IPAB. The kicker, though, is that if Congress does NOTHING on the IPAB's recommendation, these reimbursement recommendations become law automatically. This kicker prevents Congress from avoiding responsibility regarding reimbursement rates (i.e. tying it up in committee) and forces an up/down vote.

It's worth noting that "Doctor" Vliet was one of the orginal "scare-meisters" about the so-called "Death Panels", which of course turned out to be more "scare tactics".

Shame on "Doctor" Vliet.

LINK

Doctor G
Doctor G's picture
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Joined: 10/19/2010
Link, the expert on IPAB's

Link, You seem to know a lot about the IPAB's. Are you the one that wrote this part of the PPACA? I thought your were going to call Doctor Vliet a "Provider", as the PPACA refers to doctors, and all other health care providers. Link, you have such great confidence in Congress to take responsibility. What flavor koolaid are you drinking? Have you heard about SGR, the Sustainable Growth Rate formula? It and IPAB have a common thread. SGR limited the growth of Medicare spending, but Congress, at the last minute, would increase the total, thereby increasing the individual payments to doctors. The IPAB takes the responsibility of limiting Medicare costs from Congress, with Congress' hearty approval. IPAB can control costs by setting a price that does not cover delivery cost of a service(if you haven't run your own business, this might be hard to understand, Link). Doctors then have to choose to not offer the service (innocent patients LOSE) or they go bankrupt providing it, or, as up to 50% have said, the doctors will quit medicine(innocent patients LOSE again). Then, when disrespectful saps like you need care, there will be no appointments for the next six weeks. Yes, Link, PPACA will cover you---with dirt! Doctor Vliet and I will take care of all the wonderful people who choose to contract with us directly and call us their DOCTOR. Best regards, Dr G

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