Shaun Francis wrote in "Ontario health care: constantly climbing cost; ever worsening service" (National Post, Mar.25, 2011):
"On Sunday, Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews reversed her ministry’s decision to not provide Herceptin, a cancer drug, to Jill Anzarut, a 35-year-old Toronto mother of two, as well as other people in Ms. Anzarut’s position. The reversal capped a remarkable two weeks that saw Ms. Anzarut pleading her case through such social media as Twitter and Facebook, as well as the mainstream press.
A regime of Herceptin costs approximately $40,000 a year. The Ontario Health Insurance Plan generally pays for herceptin only in those cases where a breast tumour is larger than 1 cm; and Ms. Anzarut’s was measured at only 0.5 cm. At first, Minister Matthews held firm to this position. “We cannot have a health system where the stories that land on the front page … determine our health-care policy,” she insisted, explaining why she absolutely, positively would not change her mind.
Others pointed out that the drug already was available for small-tumour patients in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan, and on a case-by-case basis in Newfoundland, Quebec and Manitoba. And Ms. Anzarut had a gene that elevated her risk of cancer recurrence.
The front-page stories showed little sign of stopping. So after several weeks of opprobrium, Minister Matthews decided to provide Ms. Anzarut with herceptin. “This is the option that I think makes real sense to me,” she said, explaining why she now was presiding over — to cite her own words from a few days previous — “a health system where the stories that land on the front page … determine our health-care policy.”
Ms. Anzarut’s adventures in drug policy illustrate the arbitrary nature of our system. During last year’s debate over Obamacare in the United States, right-wing critics accused reformers of promoting “death panels” that would make life-or-death decisions about citizens’ health care. Obamacare defenders insisted that such a notion was ridiculous.
Yet here in Canada, “death panels” dictate our health care every day — even if that is not the name they go by.
Experts decide who gets what medicine, which medical scans, what treatments. How many other people are there in Ontario, or other Canadian provinces, who have been denied potentially life-saving treatments, but lack the ability to engineer a media campaign such as Ms. Anzarut’s?
Jill Anzarut did not choose her health insurance plan. Instead, our health-care system forced her, and everyone else, into a situation where government bureaucrats choose what is best for us. “Do not worry, citizens,” the bureaucrats intone. “We have your best interests in mind. We shall decide what is best for you.”
But these bureaucrats also must consider the costs their decisions will create for the public system. Which is why people find the idea of “death panels” so scary.
Why do we allow this system to continue? Perhaps because we think of health care as something the government provides to us for free, and that we’re lucky to get it. But that’s wrong. There’s nothing “free” about health care. We all pay for it with our tax dollars. The average Ontarian pays $3,799.62 annually for health care, according to the Fraser Institute. Across Canada, because of the progressive nature of our government’s revenue collection, better-paid tax payers contribute a lot more than that. A recent Fraser Institute analysis by Milagros Palacios and Nadeem Esmail indicates that the top 30% of Canadian taxpayers by income (those who claim income of $97,486 or more) pay annual health-care costs starting at $10,612. The top 10% of taxpayers pay at least $32,056 annually.
Effectively, our monopolist health insurer keeps jacking up our rates, while providing less service. Competition law in Canada forbids such behaviour in most corporate sectors … except when the government is the monopoly holder. Not only is it OK for government to be the monopoly — they go one step further and make it illegal for competitors to even exist. And then they try to tell us it’s for our own benefit. Competition is bad, they say. It’s immoral. Yet in almost every other sector of our economy, competition is what makes us thrive and be “competitive” as a nation. What a disconnect.
Health Minister Deb Matthews’ reversal in the Anzarut case is intended to show us how responsive a monopolist we have in Ontario. Well, in fact, perhaps it showed exactly the opposite. Health care is in trouble when media stories spur the health minister to micromanage who gets what drugs, and for which size tumours. The Anzarut case has shown how frightened the monopolist is of a little public outcry. It showed the system’s fragility. Perhaps this monolith is beginning to crack."
Remember Health Minister Deb Matthews just two weeks ago smugly pretending that she can't get involved with patient health-care?!?!
Looks like another Liberal lie to add to the list...
We need to understand that what Ontario's monopolist Liberal scumbags Dalton McGuinty and his current health minister Deb Matthews tried to do to Jill Anzarut was the same thing which McGuinty and his former health minister George Smitherman did to Suzanne Aucoin.
Deb Matthews was just hoping no one would notice the similarities.
'Suzanne Aucoin?' the left will say; 'Who's that? Why should we care about some anecdotal anomaly from the past?'
Does anybody out there remember - or care - what McGuinty's Liberal scumbags did to Suzanne Aucoin?
Have we all forgotten what Dalton's disgusting Liberals put her through?
Have we forgotten that McGuinty forced this cancer patient to go to the United States, because McGuinty's Liberal-run health-monopoly denied her cancer coverage here in Ontario!
Ask Liberal MPP Jim Bradley about it: this disgusting Liberal even went to Aucoin's memorial service - as if HIS OWN MONOPOLISTIC LIBERALISM had nothing to do with what his own Liberal government did (or specifically, didn't do) when she was ill!!
The leftist single-payer-healthcare-monopoly-pushers DO NOT WANT anyone remembering what McGuinty's Liberals put Aucoin through.
Liberals want Ontarians to forget about Suzanne Aucoin.
McGuinty wants us to forget that Aucoin was a precedent for Anzarut.
The Liberals do not want Ontarians to ask about, or to remember, why Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin had to investigate the McGuinty government's pathetic behaviour in the Aucoin case: see Liberal Healthcare Duplicity: pages 8, 9, 45, 56, 62 ,69, 70, 71, 72 ,73 ,74, 75]
Many Americans are fully aware of Obamacare's inherent death-panels: even New York Times writer and darling of the left, Paul Krugman, has already said death-panels and tax-increases are part-and-parcel of Obamacare. Krugman confirmed what Palin had been saying.
(...and by June 2013, Americans, too, would sadly come face-to-face with Kathleen Sebelius' nightmare of state-run health-despotism in action, in their own country, foisted by their own government.
“Some people live. Some people die,” said Sibelius - and her government death panel decides! Tommy Douglas or Dalton McGuinty or George Smitherman couldn't have said it better themselves.)
Obamacare's 15-person death panel is in the works: the official name for this Demon-cratic Star-Chamber of Health-care Cuts is the innocuous-sounding Independent Payment Advisory Boad (IPAB).
Then, in the Sept.16, 2012 New York Times, Steven Rattner, another darling of the left, wrote an article pleading to Obama 'we need death panels'! Too bad wikipedia and politicheck somehow can`t get the updates about their mythical 'myth of death panels' on their sites!!
Rattner and Krugman yearn for death panels, yet the smug liberal-left still stubbornly pretends that 'Palin was wrong'; still insists that somehow Obamacare isn't about the state attacking the elderly; the helpless.
Maybe Michael Den Tandt will now grace us with some of his grand insightful criticism of Krugman's and Rattner's and Sibelius' positions!!
After all, look at the leftist garbage which Den Tandt was smugly spewing in the Mar.27, 2010 St.Catharines Standard (which, no doubt, the local Liberal Jim Bradley-voting morons giddily ate up):
"...Many Canadians, perhaps most, have been bemused by the tenor of the debate down south. Obama's plan extends health care to millions more Americans, but it is a far cry from a universal, state-run system.
To call it socialism, let alone a dictatorial abuse of power, or an invitation to "death panels," all terms being bandied about online and on the talk shows, is worse than stupid. These are grotesque fabrications and exaggerations ..." Really, Mikey???!!
Do ya, ummm... maybe wanna revisit your own bullshit, worse-than-stupid assessment now?!
The "grotesque fabrications and exaggerations" being bandied about, were YOURS, Mr. Den Tandt!!
Or, maybe Mindy Jacobs or some other St.Catharines Standard lefty hack will now honour us with their smug criticism of Krugman or Rattner... eh, how about that, Wendy Metcalfe...? (never happened; can't have that...)