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Topic UK cuts benefits from national health program Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By lurkingforacure On 2009.08.02 23:04
Without getting into the debate again, does anyone know how we could ensure that this kind of thing could not happen if the US had national healthcare? This is one of the concerns raised in an earlier thread. Today they cut painkiller injections, tomorrow they cut_____, next year they cut.....

Here's the link (I post the link so I don't get in trouble for copyright violations):

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/5955840/Patients-forced-to-live-in-agony-after-NHS-refuses-to-pay-for-painkilling-injections.html

By jsmitch On 2009.08.03 09:40
A little fact check: These treatments are already limited in the US -- for MEDICAL reasons not financial. The UK Government is just cutting off funding for a questionable procedure.

By WitsEnd On 2009.08.03 13:54
What works for some patients may not work for others and vice versa. I want my doctor telling me what treatments I need....not my Senator. Scary article.

By lurkingforacure On 2009.08.03 19:07
The procedure is not questionable for those people it works for, read the article. They are cutting the procedure to save the $$$. Next week or year something else will get cut. It will only matter to you if they cut what you or your loved one needs.

Like witsend, I also want my doc having latitude to dictate my care, not the govt. My doc is the one who went to school to learn medicine...policitians went to school for, what was that again?

By jsmitch On 2009.08.04 07:33
The article says "therapeutic injections of steroids, such as cortisone, which are used to reduce inflammation, should no longer be offered to patients suffering from persistent lower back pain when the cause is not known." The operative portion of that statement is "when the cause is unknown."

This procedure is not like getting a flu shot. Epidural Steroid Injections are effective in about 50% of back pain cases (when the cause is known) and their frequency is limited even by proponents of the treatment. It also is not cheap. Wouldn't the money be better spent determining the underlying cause of the back pain rather than treating the symptoms.

By lurkingforacure On 2009.08.04 07:48
jsmitch wrote: "Wouldn't the money be better spent determining the underlying cause of the back pain rather than treating the symptoms"

That's the point-what do you think we are doing now with PD? ALL we are doing is "treating the symptoms"-yet our loved ones HAVE to have these meds! I'd love nothing more than for someone, somewhere, to find the "cause" of PD, but in the meantime, my loved one has to have his drugs to function, hell, he probably has to have them to even live. I don't want some bureaucrat somewhere deciding that because Sinemet only "treats the symptoms", as you say, it is no longer going to be covered, or available.

Ditto for cancer, AIDS, MS, you name it-all we are doing with those diseases is "treating the symptoms" as well. That's a lot of suffering folks who are at risk of having coverage for their meds yanked under such a plan.

By number1daughter On 2009.08.04 08:24
lurkingforacure....you go girl!!!!!!

By caregivermary On 2009.08.04 11:49
lurking,

Come on....you know exactly what jsmitch is talking about. With respect-this is an apple and oranges thing. jsmitch is correct on the back pain options. Cortisone shots work-don't work, and often Dr.'s do look at other options because in order to operate they have to determine the source of the pain. If the best approach is a cortisone shot, I don't think that is going to be different moving forward. The use of a catheter is known to cause UTI's so Medicare's payment basis for the use in hospitals has changed. The only UTI my husb has had is when it was used in the hospital for minor lower back surgery. He ended up with an infection. He didn't need the catheter at that point and he didn't want it but they put one in anyway. Studies show a high rate of infection with catheters. Medicare decided the only way to stop hospitals misuse was to cut the rates. Medicare is a gov't run program and this was a good change made by them. I'm sure there are many more. If after all is said and done and studies show that Mirapex does more harm than good for PDers, then yes, changes need to be made. This is just an example-I'm not saying this will happen.

I know you want a cure for PD. We all do! However, I think you are way overboard here in your concerns and opinions as they relate to the future for PD. You seem to have such a negative outlook which is contrary to your usual reponses on this site. First, it was the Canadian plan, then it was illegals, then abortion, then euthanasia, now the UK plan, what next? Sorry, for being so annoy but....
I have been quiet on this for a week but I can't let misinformation dominate this very valuable support site.

By lurkingforacure On 2009.08.04 13:58
cgm,

Oh, please. I raise issues as I come across them, same as anyone else. And no, I don't "know exactly what jsmitch is talking about"-he chose his words, not me. I don't have a medical background into all the nuances of painkilling injections, all I know is that for a lot of folk, they are a lifesaver and allow them to function, same as my husband's PD meds.

The article I cited speaks for itself. Anyone who wants to bury their proverbial head in the sand and ignore the possiblity of the same thing happening here go right ahead, but I would think we would all want to be informed of the good and the bad, no matter how remote one thinks the possiblity may be.

In 2003, Obama gave a speech in which he said he wanted a single-payer system, I just saw the clip today. A "single payer system" is NOT what is on the table. Further, it is my understanding that federal employees AND union folks are exempted out of the proposed plan. This type of favoritism does not do much to foster the public's comfort level with the proposed plan.

By WitsEnd On 2009.08.04 17:40
I think the operative take away from the article is that a government made a decision about what care a doctor should provide for his (or her) patients and that decision was based on trying to save money for a cash strapped health care system.

Another key point is the care targeted was a chronic problem a lot of people have--not some rare exotic disease.

Also, a lot of diagnoses are not always that black and white to diagnose--including PD. Someone shouldn't have to suffer waiting to figure out what is wrong when there is medicine that could take away their pain now. Soft tissue injuries often don't even show up on x-rays. Doctors make an educated guess, prescribe a treatment and know their treatment worked when the symptoms improve. What's next--no aspirin for a sprained ankle? Does anyone think there's a bunch of loonies going to doctors in the UK getting shots in their back if the shots weren't actually helping?

If there is a sense of concern here it is because as Ronald Reagan once said..."if the government offers to help.....you're in trouble." There's good reason for this comment founded in past history....for instance back in the 70's. The government decided to help with gas prices. They created shortages and rationing.

The fear here is a system nobody can afford and health care rationing for the chronically ill, the old and the incurable. My dad fell into that category and one day we all will if for no other reason than being old. That's where the current proposals are running out of steam and their popularity waning fast. References to other government run health care such as the UK provides at least some prima facie evidence that some of these concerns are well founded.

By RhondaM On 2009.08.06 21:52
As someone who worked for the US govt for 32 years, I don't trust them as far as I can throw them. Especially this administration. It's bait and switch every time you turn around. It doesn't matter what they promise you, they will do what they darn well please, leading us further and further into socialism and ruin, and for anyone with an incurable disease and over the age of 65, well....I'll just say thank goodness my dear dad is already gone, and I worry about my 87 year old mom, and then my brothers and I are next. They'll be pushing hospice and pulling back on all treatments and drugs, and without the free market there will be no more innovations in new drugs and treatments. No money, no incentive. No more progress.

If anyone thinks govt-run healthcare would be an improvement, check back with me in 5 years (if it passes, and I pray it doesn't) and let me know what you think then.

The govt can't run anything well, they are a bloated, bureaucratic, ineffecient, apathetic nightmare, and I don't care WHO is in the white house, I've worked for the govt from 1974 Ford to 2008 Bush, and it doesn't make a whit of a difference in the sorry "corporate culture." It was a love/hate relationship the whole time I worked for them, I retired as quick as I could, and the funny thing is, the only reason I stayed was because of the health insurance.

The healthcare system we have needs some major work and oversight, for sure, but please, PLEASE, don't let those idiots and corrupt mobsters take over our whole system. When 80% of the people are happy with what they've got, you don't trash it for the 20% who need help. Surely there is a way to help them without ruining it for the rest of us.

Look at Medicare, Medicaid, the VA, the US Post Office, to name a few. The one thing they have in common - all govt-run, all in a mess and broke. Socialism doesn't work.

That is all I'm going to say, I've kept quiet on this until now, and I won't be checking back in because I don't want to get into a fight with anyone. Just take it from someone who has been on the inside for 3 decades, and who has fought with Medicaid for the past 5 months on behalf of my disabled brother, and who had to finally get my congressman to fix it for me because the idiots had closed his case by accident and would not even call me back after 100 desperate voicemail messages, (they NEVER, EVER answered the phone, not once). When a congressman's aide made a phone call, they fixed it real quick. I knew this would work only because I worked for the sorry govt for so long and that was the only time they ever get on the ball, when a congressman makes an inquiry. The whole time I was going through all this, all I kept saying is "This is what it would be like if the govt took over the whole system." God help us all if that happens.

By dkleinert On 2009.08.09 00:21
RhondaM: You are so right. I worked in government research, and know what you are saying is 100% correct. We will all know the truth soon if this healthcare plan is inacted. It will be so sad for our PD loved ones....and then us one day. Thanks for telling us what you learned from being on the inside!

By caregivermary On 2009.08.09 12:06
Hi!

Let's look at Alabama. What have they done for state employees in that state? If you smoke, you pay the state gov $25 per month and this policy was in effect before 2009. As of Jan, 09, if you are obese, and do not take steps to change the situation, you pay the company $25 per month. Guess who is running this plan in Alabama? Sounds like gov run something or another to me. Alabama is number one in the country for obesity and health care costs. Big insurance buddies are very involved in this with the Governor.

There are a lot of people who do not have a positive view of the company they work/ed for and for many different reasons. I' m sure the state employees in Alabama don't care too much for this plan. Government telling them what to do about their bodies. However, I'm sure many will benefit from this program. Some will say the gov is targeting only a few groups.

Why is it ok for the gov to do this but not ok to "suggest" people plan for the future? health care directives-end of life issues
My husb is in late stage IV Parkinson's and I'm very comforted by the fact we had completed our directives some time ago. However, I continue to review them as things move forward and hear about changes that need to be made.

My husb has had medicare for 10 years, sees any Dr./Specialist, etc and we have lived in 3 states. We have been happy with this government run program. I do believe we will continue to be happy moving forward.

By WitsEnd On 2009.08.10 09:12
I am originally from Alabama, and while I love my home state, I know it's limits. It was last in just about everything and we used to joke that we took great comfort in that Mississippi usually beat us for last. (No offense to anyone from Mississippi....just a little friendly rivalry from a sister state.)

Anyway, the current governor there also had the brilliant idea of selling off Gulf State Park for private real estate development--until he got sued and lost. Seems that fella is chock full of ideas.

As for obesity and smoking....smoking killed my mother. No matter the price of cigarettes she kept smoking...even if it meant doing without something else. It's an addiction. Anybody think a $25 a month penalty is going to stop an addict? Somebody should call AA and gamblers anonymous and clue them in. All those wasted support sessions!

As for obesity--I gained a few pounds myself. My first doctor chalked it up to stress over my parents. Having two of them down at the same time was quite a challenge. The thyroid problems and inherited glucose intolerance doesn't help the problem either. So everybody, let's penalize me because I obviously must be just too stupid or too lazy to lose weight. $25 will make an impact on me for sure. After all, holding down a full time job and being responsible for one person dying of COPD and another of Parkinson's--both affected mentally--two of them in the hospital at the same time--that can't POSSIBLY keep me too busy to go to the gym and work out. Oh, and let's not forget about those healthy meals--the ones that either got skipped or got grabbed from a vending machine running down the hospital corridor. I am sure I could have changed that--and sat down to a nice salad--all I had to do was tell my employer and parents I'm taking an obesity break because the government said it was good for me!

As for Medicare, I've paid Medicare taxes all my working life. Now that I am older and not in so great a health it's time for Medicare to step up and provide the insurance I've been paying for. Why pay insurance premiums if when you need to make a claim it's not there? Same difference. I SHOULD have good coverage all the money the government has gotten out of me over the years.

I agree with the earlier poster. Government is nothing but a bait and switch. New ways to get tax dollars and excuses on why they can't do what they were supposed to do when they reached into my pocket for money in the first place.

Hear about the latest? Our congressional leaders don't want to have to fly commercial like the rest of us. They tacked on a $120 Million tag to buy two of the most expensive private planes in the world. They put it on a bill for defense. Wonder how much research that money could have done for a disease like Parkinson's? How many drugs? How many days of hospice?

Oh...and the House folks want to spend another $550 Million for senior government leader jets (that's on today's front of the Wall Street Journals page). Then they have the nerve to say they need Medicare to stop spending so much money on the old folks who are dying anyway because its breaking the nation and Medicare is broke? No wonder the town halls are turning in to town brawls.



By lurkingforacure On 2009.08.11 08:49
The state of Oregon has a health care program...for however much good it is, this happened to this woman. A federal program will be worse, as it will cover more people, and have a massive bureacracy to support which runs it (remember those 30+ new federal agencies under the proposed plan that will be created to run this thing, that's a lot of $$$). As horrifying as this is, I realize that there are only so many dollars in any government program, and those dollars must be allocated....that's just the reality. Here's the article: (if you google this there are tons of articles about it):

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=5517492&page=1

PS It is my understanding that Medicare (not Medicaide) already has reached the point at which dollars going out for claims exceed those coming in from taxes...this apparently happened last year. I thought it was projected to occur in 2016 but we've already reached that point. We all know Medicare has limits care and coverage, and still, it is in the hole. An even bigger healthplan covering more people will have even more limits (oh, I forgot, unless you work for the federal government or unions, who will have their own cushy plan).

By WitsEnd On 2009.08.11 10:08
I had a teacher once who told me "your rights end where my nose begins". I have a fundamental problem with the government sticking its nose into my personal space. If I sound a little irritated--it is because I am. It's not the government's business to "counseL" me on when I choose to die. Of all people, the folks in this forum should understand the difficulties in choosing when to let go. That's one of the hardest and most personal decisions to make for yourself or for a family member. The LAST thing anyone should want or need is a bunch of bureaucrats sticking their nose in to offer an opinion--much less have the right to do so as given to them by our legislature in order to "reduce healthcare costs".

The government hasn't lived up to it's last program--Medicare. Why should I trust them with a newer, bigger version? You don't stop a leak in a bucket by making the hole bigger or by getting a bigger bucket with a bigger hole.

The government knew or should have known that when they allowed people who had never paid into the system originally to draw benefits that one day the pied piper was going to have to be paid. Just like Madoff or any other ponzi scheme the house of cards will eventually collapse. They should have come up with a plan to use general taxes to "pay back" unfunded deficits years ago if they were going to let people who never paid in get benefits.

It is not morally or ethically right or fair to ask today's elderly, chronically ill, and terminally ill to pay the price for years of government mismanagement by "counseling" them on "end of life" issues. That's just a fancy way of saying let's recommend "euthanasia" for those old sick people. Maybe when my time comes that might be a choice I make, but I am going to fight to my dying breath today to make sure that's my choice and my loved one's choice--not Obama's.

When our government leaders have grown up and acted like adults and cut out the pork and diverted those wasted funds to Medicare and Social Security, determined and funded the shortfall from the people THEY let draw benefits who never paid taxes out of the general tax fund--then we can talk rationally about reform and ways to contain health care costs. Starting that topic with reducing benefits or socializing medicine or "counseling" for "end of life issues" isn't going to get my vote and my congressmen and representatives are going to know that REGARDLESS of whatever else they did in their career....if they go down this path...I will vote for a blue dog, yellow dog or a spotted mongoose rather than them.

By jsmitch On 2009.08.11 13:55
The counseling on end of life issues that you are getting rattled over is simply the reimbursement to a healthcare professional for the service IF you want it. It is not a bureaucrat sticking their nose into your business or is it anyone making a life and death decision for you or your loved one. A little common sense please.

By Newcaregiver On 2009.08.11 16:43
Thank you, Mitch.

By lurkingforacure On 2009.08.11 17:41
My point in sharing the article is that the state was deciding which care you got, based on $$$....this lady wanted the expensive cancer drug, the state health plan said no, but we'll give you the euthanasia drug if you want it, which cost much less.

The end-of-life counseling issue raised in the above post has nothing to do with whether you are allowed the choice to live in the first place.

By jsmitch On 2009.08.11 21:47
The Oregon Health Plan (OHP) provides health care coverage to low-income people in the state. "Euthanasia" is part of their formulary. It is coincidental that under a totally different program, Oregon has their Death with Dignity Act (the 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.

That said, insurers determine whether the procedure is covered under their policies. Oregon statute specifies that participation under the Act is not suicide, so should not affect insurance benefits by that definition. However, federal funding cannot be used for these services.

Euthanasia is a different procedure and it is illegal in every state in the US, including Oregon.

BTW, a non-government sponsored plan would have been just as quick to drop the cancer treatment coverage.

By lurkingforacure On 2009.08.12 07:35
You don't know that a private insurer "would be just as quick to drop" the expensive cancer treatment, and cannot speak for any private insurer unless you work for it. There are many cases where they have done just the opposite, and covered expensive stuff.

By WitsEnd On 2009.08.12 09:13
Common sense. Okay, here it is. You don't reduce health care costs by providing new counseling services. You reduce health care costs by cutting out services. There is no need to add a new service to pay doctors to "counsel" people on "end of life choices". Doctors already give patients options on their choices today for FREE. It's a standard part of care. So what is the point in adding a pay service that people already get for free to a program to reduce health care costs? It's obviously to pressure people to choose the cheaper option.

The government is trying to open a pandora's box. Perhaps today since much of the nation is riled up it is described as a voluntary "counseling program". There will certainly be guidance given to put pressure on people and doctors to choose the cheaper option over expensive cancer treatments. Next it will be a required "counseling program" as a condition of benefits. A little more pressure. Next it will be Oregon where the government just makes the decision for you. The point is that the choice of my care should be one between me and my doctor. This is a road the federal government should not be going down--and at the very least adding a paying program people get for free today is certainly inconsistent with the stated goal of reducing health care costs.

I agree with lurkingforce. You can't paint all private insurers with one brush. When HMO's first started some of them tried to contain costs by providing limited services. Those HMO's went out of business because people had the choice and they chose not to use those insurers. Some insurers, like mine, not only pay for expensive cancer treatments....they also pay for preventative cancer screening at MD Anderson to catch cancer early to help reduce the need for more extensive treatments later.


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