Supporters of health reform said it would never happen. Maybe they got caught up in their own rhetoric. Maybe they just didn’t want to believe it was possible. But rationing in America has started.
This week, the Food and Drug Administration is expected to revoke approval of the drug Avastin for the treatment of advanced breast cancer. Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter has described the anticipated move as “the beginning of a slippery slope leading to more and more rationing under the government takeover of health care.”
It seems that even loyal Democrats have noticed the Obama administration’s not-so-subtle policy shift toward rationing. According to Politico, many of the 34 House Democrats who voted against the health reform bill are aggressively touting their “no” votes in campaign ads.
The FDA claims its decision won’t be based on cost, but Avastin isn’t cheap — a full regimen costs about $100,000 a year.
Jean Grem of the FDA’s Oncology Drug Advisory Committee was cited in the Wall Street Journal explaining why she voted to deprive breast-cancer patients of Avastin: “We aren’t supposed to talk about cost, but that’s another issue.”
Two years ago, the FDA approved Avastin for breast cancer on the condition that further research would show the drug extended life expectancy. Everyone expected the drug to maintain its approval. Avastin has proven to be a wonder drug for countless women with stage IV breast cancer, slowing the disease’s progression and dramatically extending life.
But when no significant increase in “overall survivability” was reported this summer, an FDA advisory panel recommended that Avastin’s approval be withdrawn. Top FDA officials must decide by Friday whether they will accept or reject the panel’s counsel.
No cancer drug has ever been taken off the market based solely on “overall survivability.” Traditionally, calculations of a drug’s effectiveness have been based on tumor response and progression-free survival rates.
Here, Avastin is a miracle drug. In the manufacturer’s critical phase III study, tumors shrank in nearly 50% of patients receiving the medicine. Patients who received Avastin in conjunction with chemotherapy lived nearly twice as long as would otherwise be expected without their disease worsening.
For some patients — known as “super-responders” — an Avastin regime translates into years of additional life.
If the FDA strips Avastin of its approval, it’s likely that private insurers and Medicare would stop covering the medicine, effectively removing Avastin from the anti-breast cancer arsenal.
Under ObamaCare, there will be a Darwinization of medicine. Government claims agents will be appointed to decide whether or not your life is worth saving or if it’s “necessary” to provide treatment. The government will decide which doctor you will have, what kind of treatment will be allocated, and when. Like Canada. Like Britain. Like Germany. You will have no choice.
The health care industry is bracing for the 2014 socialist-driven avalanche by cutting back services, laying off workers, and refusing new Medicare patients.
Welcome to ObamaCare.
And take a number.