In the News: Blog

A son lays out the grim truth about his mother’s cancer medicine in the Obamacare era in Monday morning’s Wall Street Journal (hat tip to Right Wisconsin). Stephen Blackwood writes that his mother has been fighting off a terminal carcinoid cancer since she was 49 in 2005. What kept her alive was a semimonthly shot of Sandostatin, which slows the growth of tumors.

“Then in November, along with millions of other Americans, she lost her health insurance. She'd had a Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan for nearly 20 years. It was expensive, but given that it covered her very expensive treatment, it was a terrific plan. It gave her access to any specialist or surgeon, and to the Sandostatin and other medications that were keeping her alive.

“And then, because our lawmakers and president thought they could do better, she had nothing. Her old plan, now considered illegal under the new health law, had been canceled.”

Her drug has cost $14,000 since Jan. 1. The Obamacare plan she selected after much bureaucratic wrangling won’t cover it – but the insurer couldn’t tell her that beforehand. It wasn’t permitted to see what drugs the federal government would let it cover. Now, under the rules of Obamacare, the insurer is not paying for the drug. Blackwood writes:

“This is a woman who had an affordable health plan that covered her condition. Our lawmakers weren't happy with that because . . . they wanted plans that were affordable and covered her condition. So they gave her a new one. It doesn't cover her condition and it's completely unaffordable.

“Though I'm no expert on ObamaCare (at 10,000 pages, who could be?), I understand that the intention—or at least the rhetorical justification—of this legislation was to provide coverage for those who didn't have it. But there is something deeply and incontestably perverse about a law that so distorts and undermines the free activity of individuals that they can no longer buy and sell the goods and services that keep them alive. ObamaCare made my mother's old plan illegal, and it forced her to buy a new plan that would accelerate her disease and death. She awaits an appeal with her insurer.

“Will this injustice be remedied, for her and for millions of others? Or is my mother to die because she can no longer afford the treatment that keeps her alive?”