Rationing by any other name

Telling a liberal that ObamaCare means rationing and death panels is akin to being a global warming denier or, worse yet, admitting you watch Sarah Palin's outdoor show.

Yet this week the FDA revoked its prior approval for the drug Avastin in treating breast cancer, despite pleas from patients, politicians and breast cancer groups, and clinical and anecdotal evidence of the drug's effectiveness, the Wall Street Journal reports

Various studies have indicated Avastin improves survival rates and reduces tumor growth rates.  The drug works by restricting blood flow to tumors, and is still approved for other forms of cancer.  It can cost up to $90,000 per year.

The problem is that once the FDA pulls its approval, Medicare will not cover the drug, and insurance companies may be reluctant at best to cover off-label use.  Coincidentally, on the same day as the FDA announcement, a European regulator announced it would continue approval.

The FDA claims "patients treated with Avastin did not live any longer than patients who were not treated with the drug," and that there are serious side effects involved.

The Washington Examiner quotes Sally Pipes, President of the Pacific Research Institute and a leading writer in the health care debate:

Every year about 40,000 American women die from breast cancer. Avastin is the last hope for many not to meet that fate. While the drug is costly, it often provides immense benefits to patients.

Government drug rationing isn't going to stop at Avastin.

In a statement reported in The Hill, several Republican House leaders commented:

Unfortunately, this is only just the beginning...  The new health reform law - the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - creates 159 new boards, commissions and agencies that will destroy the doctor-patient relationship and replace it with federal bureaucrats deciding who gets care and what treatments they can receive.

Human Events concludes that:

The inevitable result of government distributing such a resource, while enforcing price controls on medicine and health insurance, is rationing.  The logic is simply inescapable.

Free people find ways to measure the value and effectiveness of goods, while the State can only parcel out limited resources, whose supply naturally diminishes with the elimination of the profit motive.  You will never find an example of price controls or nationalization that ended any other way. 

Survival rates and side effects, tumor reduction and life-saving, should be the province of doctor and patient, supplier and insurer.  The FDA ruling on Avastin leaves the fate of breast cancer patients under the rubber stamp of government bureaucrats.

As traumatic and frightening as the FDA ruling is to the breast cancer patients and families involved, it is but a preview of what we may expect under President Obama's health care regime.