Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Death Panels force Canadian to the U.S. for treatment

Here's someone named Mark Bonokoski, writing in The Toronto Sun, on Canada's healthcare system:

Kent Pankow lives in Edmonton, in a province and a country that is trying to either kill him or bankrupt him.

No sense mincing words.
Suffering from brain cancer, Kent Pankow was literally forced to go to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. for lifesaving surgery — at a cost to family and friends of $106,000 — after the health-care system in Alberta left him hanging in bureaucratic limbo for 16 crucial days, his tumour meanwhile migrating to an unreachable part of the brain, while it dithered over his case file, ultimately deciding he was not surgery worthy.
Now, with the Mayo Clinic having done what the Alberta Cancer Board wouldn’t authorize or even explain, but with the tumour unable to be totally removed, the province will now not fund the expensive drug, Avastin, that the Mayo prescribed to keep him alive and keep the remaining tumour from increasing in size — despite the costs of the drug being totally funded by the province for other forms of cancer.
Kent Pankow, as it turns out, has the right disease but he has it in the wrong place.
Had he lung cancer, breast cancer, or colon cancer, then the cost of the drug — $4,555 per treatment, two times a month — would be totally covered by Alberta’s version of OHIP.

But he doesn’t.

And so he is not only a victim of brain cancer, he is also a victim of arbitrary discrimination.
Full disclosure. Kent Pankow, a 40-year-old Red Seal sous chef, is a son of the man who married the spouse of my late brother. And it was while vacationing with them at their winter home in Los Cabos, Mexico, recently that this story began to unfold back in their home province of Alberta.
But do not think, even for a moment, that this could never happen in Toronto or other parts of Ontario.

Our supposedly universal federal health care system, the pride of most Canadians and the political struggle of America, is only as good as the length of the waiting line and whether you have the right disease at the right time.
Here's some info on the Kent Pankow Trust Fund.  (Note to other Bow Hunters - watch this clip !)

There you have it. 
"Socialized medicine: solving no problems, but giving government more of the money." 


Flee said...

Versus giving it to the insurance companies that use it for campaign contributions, lobbyists, and outrageous CEO pay and bonuses. Must we continue keeping them in the style they've become accustomed? With everything there is to profit from why must we contine to let just a select few profit from people being sick?

The Whited Sepulchre said...

They have legislation going through the works about healthcare and the insurance companies. You may have heard about it.

It's going to be the BEST thing to ever happen to insurance companies. Ever. They're about to get 30 million new customers.

BTW, the profits, CEO pay, and bonuses currently paid to the entire med. insurance companies (per year) would keep us in medical care for 48 hours.

When the government gets through NOT reforming the system, you'll be able to bump that number up to 60 hours. They'll get more, and you'll have less.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather give my hard-earned dollars to the insurance companies. With them, there is (limited) competition. Why limited? Because the Big Daddy Gub'ment comtinues to intrude and pass legislation that allows the Nanny State to intrude, and limits free enterprise/ competition/ capitalism.

Also, if the insurance company doesn't do what I'm voulntarily paying them my dollars to do, I have choices: I can take them to court, or go to another insurance company.

Try doing either with Nanny State Big Gub'ment.

The ideal soultion (not likely to happen, but I can dream)? Get Nanny State out of the insurance business (both meanings). Let the insurance companies compete across state lines. Prices will go lower, more people will be able to afford insurance, hence, less people uninsured.

As a couple of rediculous parallel examples, just think if auto makers had to live under the same rules as haelth insurance companies. Less people would have cars, because you and I would not be able to buy autos across state lines. OR - if the auto makers set up plants in all 50 states, so that you and I could buy them, think how expensive the cars would be.

How about groceries, and super markets? Think how many foods you wouldn't be able to have, if you couldn't buy them across state lines? Or, conversly, as above, if someone went to the trouble to grow oranges in Maine, how expensive would they be?

But that's not the case now, is it? We have access to plentiful and inexpensive cars and groceries, brought in from around the world. And if we don't like what's being offered, we can go somewhere else, not far down the road, for more of the same. And if something is wrong with the product, we have a range of options, from not having the product, to courtroom lawsuits.

Can you say the same under the current gov't-regulated health insurance situation? Would you have those options under the future Obeyme HELLthKill bill?

'Nuff said.
B Woodman

Flee said...

Whited what exactly are all those insurance CEOs, presidents, vice presidents, and mulitple layers of management doing for me the insurance consumer? Are they working for me? How can they work for me when they're looking out for the share holder and themselves first? What does anyone do that is worth $996 a minute? What am I getting from the 8 lobbyists per member of congress my health insurance premiums finance? Will I be the next person they cut because I'm getting older and might need more care that will hurt their bonuses? When your car insurance company denies your claim your car doesn't get fixed, when it's your health insurance it's you. With the greed that has taken over now your free markets scare me more than the government.

Woodman-The insurance companies would have to be interested in cutting costs for the consumer. They are only interested in increasing the premiums they collect thus increasing their compensation.

Anonymous said...

Flee, if you're concerned about excessive pay, free markets will take care of that too, as far as they're allowed to operate, and if they don't take care of it that shows that they aren't actually free markets. A lot of other people want to earn $996 a minute and provided the markets are genuinely free and open to new entrants, new suppliers will continue to enter the market until such high earnings are no longer available.

Browncoat Libertarian said...

Flee, if you really think we still have a "free market" in the realm of insurance(or almost anything, for that matter), then you are engaging in a staggering amount of willful ignorance.

Flee said...

I'm a fan of socialism, I do not see what we find wrong with universal health care, educating our young, and four weeks of paid vacation. Insurance companies do not make money by providing better care, they make money by denying care, cutting benefits, increasing premiums, and cutting people from their rolls. I do not understand what I'm getting from the campaign contributions & 8 lobbyists per member of congress my premiums finance. Where is the freedom when you become tied to a job just because you can't afford to lose the insurance? Wouldn't it cost a lot less for everyone if we didn't have to finance these campaign contributions, lobbyists, and outrageous CEO pay and bonuses and the multiple layers of management that aren't even delivering health care?

AndrewSouthLondon said...

"I'm a fan of socialism"

Oh dear.
I worked twenty years in socialised medicine, aka the UK National Health Service. Sometimes its great but mostly its about the worst organisation too work for you could imagine. Politely ma'm, you are what I believe they call an "airhead". Nothing actually works the way you think theoretically it does. Sure no CEO bonuses. Instead constant huge pay-offs to CEOs (that come back the next day as "consultants"). We constantly pay off failed NHS Trust Chief Executives at around £400k a pop. And that was reward for failure, not success bonus. You need to re-read Animal Farm to understand what actually happens under "Socialism"

Lola said...

Here in the UK it's worse. The bureaucracy tried to kill me:

The mantra is 'health care free at the point of delivery'. The truth is 'the State bureaucracy rations care and makes arbitrary judgements as to just who 'deserves' it'.

Flee said...

Lola-versus the insurance companies that do that for us? Do people go bankrupt in your country paying for health care? Do 46,000 people die a year because they can't afford to go to the doctor? 625 people an hour lost their health insurance in 2009.

Andrew-Like the bonuses they reward the financial wizards on wallstreet and general motors who have done such a great job? They don't give bonuses for doing a good job they give bonuses because "If we don't give bonuses they will quit and go somewhere else." The hundreds of thousands you may pay versus the millions and billions we pay? United Healthcare as an example paid their CEO -- one man -- $324,000,000 over a recent five year period, that is $177,534 a day. CEOs are rewarded for profit they derive for their share holders at the expense of the people they are suppose to be covering, last year's record profits were dervived from increasing premiums and cutting 625people per hour from their health insurance. I just can't figure out why my dollars need to fund this. They can kick you off insurance at a whim when you need it most and if you lose your job because you become sick, well oh well. I ask if our system is so wonderful why aren't other countries adopting it?

The Whited Sepulchre said...

One problem with your argument....Our government is broke and can't do anything without printing money.
I repeat, they have no money.
All government programs proposed from now on are done with imaginary money. It is not there.
They have screwed up everything they've touched. There is no money for this.

Flee said...

Whited-Our money, the money we already give to the insurance companies, could finance this. Insurance companies are just as bad as the government, worse I say. You can vote to change the government, good luck trying to find a new insurance company with a rate you can afford if you don't like what your employer provides for you to buy. No answers as to why it's in our self-interest to hand over money to insurance companies who are not looking out for us but the shareholders and lining their own pockets? Do you really think they want to cut costs for anyone when it would cut their pay?

Maybe we should hire Leeman Brothers to show the government how to hide our debt like they did, seeing how well government de-regulation worked with the financial markets and how well they've been rewarded for it.

seran said...

Flee, your implicit argument does not make any sense. Insurance company profit margins have remained stable over the last decade, at somewhere between 2-4% of revenues. So even if we entirely did away with insurance company profits, it would not reduce premiums in any meaningful manner. But what it would accomplish is that there would be no more health insurance companies around to vilify.

Health insurance is expensive because health care is expensive. You can't have the overall cost of premiums come out to less than the overall cost of health care, however much you might wish it so.

What you're saying is like saying:

"I my my auto collision policy to also cover all oil changes, tire rotations, new tires and other routine and manufacturer recommended maintenance. As well as all towing and repairs that are ever needed. And wear and tear.

And I want the premiums to cost less than it would cost me to pay for these services out of pocket. Even though we've added a "middle man" insurance company with overhead and employees (who need health insurance) and shareholders and reserve requirements.

I also want my premiums not to be influenced by any rise in prices at the point of service resulting from increased demand for services created by these nifty insurance policies.

In fact, I propose that we have these kind of insurance policies for all of life's basic necessities: food, shelter, retirement security, etc. That would totally solve all of our problems."

That's just gibberish.