Obamacare’s Department of Death With Dignity: Taking Insurance From Patients

Opinion   |   Judie Brown   |   Nov 14, 2013   |   12:13PM   |   Washington, DC

At first glance, it may sound a bit harsh to define Obamacare as akin to the president’s version of a federal Department of Death with Dignity, but look carefully at a few examples of what has already occurred.

According to Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Obamacare is going to harm cancer patients. He writes, “Obamacare is going to degrade medicine but its ill effects will fall disproportionately on patients with serious conditions, especially those diagnosed with cancer.”

How so? He points out that Obamacare will block the ability of cancer patients to seek out the cutting edge treatments from the specialists who provide them. He outlines several reasons why the curtailing and slimming down of insurance benefits can do nothing but make it harder and harder for cancer patients to be treated aggressively.

The outcome is clear. Those patients who are not wealthy enough to bear the burden of paying cash for the treatment that will save or lengthen their lives will die.

Edie Littlefield Sundby, who has stage 4 gallbladder cancer, wrote of her situation since losing her Cadillac insurance plan because of Obamacare. She tells the reader:

My grievance is not political; all my energies are directed to enjoying life and staying alive, and I have no time for politics. For almost seven years I have fought and survived stage-4 gallbladder cancer, with a five-year survival rate of less than 2% after diagnosis. I am a determined fighter and extremely lucky. But this luck may have just run out: My affordable, lifesaving medical insurance policy has been canceled effective Dec. 31.

My choice is to get coverage through the government health exchange and lose access to my cancer doctors, or pay much more for insurance outside the exchange (the quotes average 40% to 50% more) for the privilege of starting over with an unfamiliar insurance company and impaired benefits.

In other words, Edie’s struggle to stay alive may not succeed because Obamacare is punishing her by taking away the plan that made it possible for her treatment to be as successful as it has been in the past.

The same type of story was recently told by Bill Elliott, a cancer patient whose healthcare plan was paying for nearly all of his cancer treatment, including the drugs. But recently Obamacare cancelled that insurance and now Bill has to decide what he is going to do about it since signing up for a government-allowed plan could cost him a fortune.

And then there’s Michael Cerpok, a leukemia survivor in Fountain Hills, Arizona, whose future is not looking too rosy.

Right now, his monthly premium is about half his monthly take-home pay. But the Obamacare law forced his insurer to kill that plan for one that fits the law’s rules.

Now he’ll have to pay more for drugs, and his Mayo Clinic doctor is no longer in his network.



Last year, his treatment bill was more than $350,000, but thanks to insurance his out-of-pocket was only $4,500. Now, to keep his doctor, the one who has kept him alive for seven years, Cerpok will have to pay $26,000 out-of-pocket.

When we hear stories like these, we weep for those who are suffering due to the sweeping changes Obamacare has forced on Americans. But, at the same time, we must remember the perspective of those who fashioned this grotesque plan in the first place.

Before Obamacare was the law of the land, we knew that cost cutting was one of the administration’s objectives. In 2009, Thomas Sowell wrote:

Nothing is easier than for governments to impose price controls. They have been doing this, off and on, for thousands of years—repeatedly resulting in (1) shortages, (2) quality deterioration and (3) black markets. Why would anyone want any of those things when it comes to medical care?

Well, clearly Obama wanted all those things.

In truth, Obamacare in all its ugliness is Obama’s Department of Death with Dignity. One way or another, those who cannot get the treatment they should receive will die.

Cutting costs can, and will, have tragic consequences.