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Ontario Health Minister refuses to assist dying mother


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Kimm Fletcher is a 41-year-old wife and mother of two young children who lives in Milton, Ontario. Fletcher has Stage 4 brain cancer and has been told that she may not live to Christmas, but with a drug called Avastin, there is a possibility that her life could be extended by 18 months. Last week Fletcher said, “if this gives me an extra year to live, to love my husband and play with my children, I want that opportunity.”

The problem is that while Avastin is covered in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, Ontario only pays for the drug in the treatment of colon cancer.

http://looniepolitics.com/ontario-health-minister-refuses-assist-dying-mother/

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This is sad but there have been and will be many more like her,who can't afford the drugs or the insurance won't pay. When my spouse was being treated for cancer, he had a drug that cost 1000. for 5-7 treatments, our insurance covered it or he wouldn't have gotten it. I'm not sure even if one had a private health insurance would pay cause they are in the business of making money not healing people.

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I'm shocked people down south didn't use this as an example of a "death panel" decision.

There isn't much evidence that this drug works for her type of cancer. And ultimately it wouldn't save her it would just prolong her life for a few months.

Also why isn't the drug company helping her? it would be fantastic PR for them.

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I'm shocked people down south didn't use this as an example of a "death panel" decision.

What I can't figure out is why Americans don't understand that private insurance companies do the same thing to control costs. The only difference is it is company lawyer parsing wording in a policy rather than a government bureaucrat making a cost-benefit decision. The only way to get whatever heathcare you want is to pay for it yourself. Edited by TimG
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What I can't figure out is why Americans don't understand that private insurance companies do the same thing to control costs. The only difference is it is company lawyer parsing wording in a policy rather than a government bureaucrat making a cost-benefit decision. The only way to get whatever heathcare you want is to pay for it yourself.

Many Americans do understand this and choose their insurance products accordingly. I just completed my employer's annual enrollment with six coverage and premium choices for health, three for dental, and two for vision care. How many choices do Canadians get from their provincial programs ? Can Canadians choose to pay less, eschewing care they do not want or need? When it comes time to seek health care services, are such services readily available in short order, or are there "wait times" brokered by sombody equivalent to a "company lawyer" ?

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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Many Americans do understand this and choose their insurance products accordingly.

That does not change my argument that 'death panels' run by insurance companies already exist in the US and it is rather silly to slag the Canadian system because it does the same. Go ahead and criticize the lack of choices in Canada because that is a obvious deficiency of the Canadian system bu it has nothing to do with the 'death panels'. Edited by TimG
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That does not change my argument that 'death panels' run by insurance companies already exist in the US and it is rather silly to slag the Canadian system because it does the same. Go ahead and criticize the lack of choices in Canada because that is a obvious deficiency of the Canadian system bu it has nothing to do with the 'death panels'.

Your post claims that Americans do not understand.....when clearly many do understand many aspects of their insurance policies from eligibility, membership, benefits, limits/exclusions, and cancellation provisions. All they have to do is read the paperwork. There are no "death panels" in the U.S. (yet), and it is equally "silly" for you to "slag" the American health care system, which isn't even the topic of this thread.

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Boges brought up death panel, which diverted the thread.

and I agree, talking about the US medical system is a red herring to the topic at hand.

I am not medical doctor/pharmasist or pharmaceutical company, but as they are not beating the drum to say it will make a difference, even put her on some sort of trial test, then one wonders if Avastin is also a red herring to a person looking for a cure.

People will try all sorts of medical treatments when faced with pain or terminal illness.

How often do these hail mary treatments work?

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Not every province has approved all treatments/drugs uniformly. It's easy to call it a cost decision, but there are more factors than that. Ethically, they can't prescribe something they can't vouch for.

In Ontario's case, they've studied the efficacy of Avastin for colon cancer, but not for brain cancer. The problem is, Avastin is controversial. There are almost as many studies showing it doesn't help as there are that show it might. Even in the US, approval for the use of Avastin for cancer treatment is being pulled back for some types of cancers, as the reality is not lining up with the promise. It's already been pulled for breast cancer, and the FDA is currently looking at pulling it for brain cancer as well.

Edited by Bryan
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