Friday, June 27, 2008

Oregon Health Care: Suicide is Painless--and Cheaper

The Oregon Health Plan:
When the Government Runs Health Care

"Elect me and your health care problems will all be over."

The people of Oregon fell for that line almost 20 years ago. Expecting Utopia, what they got was a reality check: a lottery to pick who's covered and suicide coverage--instead of cancer drugs.

In 1989. Oregon became the second State, after Hawaii, to attempt complete medical coverage of it's citizens.

It has not gone as planned.

In fact, it seems to be approaching disaster. Within a few year:
In early 2003, the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) implemented cost saving strategies, reducing benefits and increasing cost-sharing for a substantial portion of its members

Cost-sharing meant that people were being charged premium for the previously funded care. So we have a reduction in Medical care and services, and increased cost. But the degeneration of the plan did not end there. In March of this year, wire services carried the following:
Tens of thousands of Oregonians queued up quickly for a chance at the state’s latest lottery, but this one is no game.

Officials began drawing names last week for a chance at some rare openings in the state’s healthcare plan.

Announced in February, the lottery drew 91,675 hopefuls in 30 days. The winners will receive a postcard notifying them that they can apply for the Oregon Health Plan.

"Budget limitations capped the Oregon Health Plan standard benefit package in mid-2004. Now the plan has room for a few thousand people. The lottery winners will be the first new applicants since the cap was imposed.

When it was fully funded, it was considered a trailblazing program.

In 1996, the benefit package enrolled five times as many people as are enrolled today, and only 10.7% of Oregon’s population lacked insurance, compared with about 16% today.

Yes, you read that correctly. Not only are the numbers of uninsured increasing dramatically, with only 24,000 insured, but to get on the 'Universal" plan, you must participate in a lottery.

In June of 2008, it got far worse.

The "Universal" plan does not, apparently include medical care for seriously potentially terminal disease.As The Catholic News Agency reported:

Oregon health plan covers assisted suicide, not drugs, for cancer patient"

Eugene, Jun 6, 2008 / 01:09 am ( CNA).- An Oregon woman suffering from lung cancer was notified by the state-run Oregon Health Plan that their policy would not cover her life-extending cancer drug, telling her the health plan would cover doctor-assisted suicide instead.

That was not a misprint.

On October 27, 1997 Oregon enacted the Death with Dignity Act which allows terminally-ill Oregonians to end their lives through the voluntary self-administration of lethal medications, expressly prescribed by a physician for that purpose.

In 2008, as a cost control measure, Oregon apparently incorporated the act into it's failing health care plan--because it is far easier to kill patients than to save them. The publicity of the story ultimately saved the patient. The manufacturer of the life preserving drug stepped up and offered it to the patient.

The story appears to be a happy ending for Barbara Wagner, who has been notified by a drug manufacturer that it will provide the expensive medication, estimated to cost $4,000 a month, for the first year and then allow her to apply for further treatment, according to a report in the Eugene Register-Guard.

But the word from the state was coverage for palliative care, which would include the state's assisted suicide program, would be allowed but not coverage for the cancer treatment drugs.

"To say to someone, we'll pay for you to die, but not pay for you to live, it's cruel," Wagner told the newspaper. "I get angry. Who do they think they are?"


Anything but. Oregon now has half the physicians it needs. It rations health care like no other State. It has become a bizarre replication of the Soviet health care system of old;socialism run amok.

The cure? You guessed it?

"We don't know, and the American public doesn't know, what is going to happen in the next two to three to four years nationally," Speight said. "There are things we can do at a state level that can work with a national model."

Yeah. They want you to pay for their failure and participate in this irrational death factory.

* onthefencefilms







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