Contributor Post Created with Sketch. White House Takes on Elderly Cancer Patient

 

We conservatives are used to being portrayed as heartless villains. If progressives aren’t accusing us of pushing grandmothers off fiscal cliffs we’re lashing women to train tracks (using binders, of course). Team Obama even accused Mitt Romney of giving a woman cancer just to watch her die.

This tired media template was reversed as loathsome Obama spokesgremlin Dan Pfeiffer attacked a 62-year-old cancer patient on his official White House Twitter account.

Pfeiffer was responding to a heart-wrenching op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal written by a cancer patient who is losing her doctors and health insurance plan.

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…

For a cancer patient, medical coverage is a matter of life and death. Take away people’s ability to control their medical-coverage choices and they may die. I guess that’s a highly effective way to control medical costs. Perhaps that’s the point.

Pfeiffer takes on this very ill woman by linking to silly Think Progress spin blaming “bad apple” insurance companies for Obama’s broken promises.

Pfeiffer.png

The White House has violated the old political adage, “If you’re explaining why cancer patients should lose their health insurance, you’re losing.”

But will the press notice?

Grumpy Dan Pfeiffer pic via Pete Souza/The White House

There are 40 comments.

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  1. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive
    BrentB67: What nobody appears willing to address is who gets the bill for this treatment? The story quotes UNH having paid $1.2Million for the treatment to date.

    What is our expectation of our healthcare system? That hospitals be forced to care for those unable/unwilling to pay and that there is no amount insurance companies shouldn’t pay to pursue immortality?

    If so then the ACA seems like an almost rational response to irrational expectations.

    What is the conservative alternative? · 2 minutes ago

    Everyone seems to expect they’ll receive vastly more out of a risk pool than what they put into it. Reality dictates that some will be winners, but that most should assume to be losers. Of course, it’s not a far stretch to imagine this administration extolling the patriotic virtue of dying quietly so other, more favored people can live.

    • #1
    • November 5, 2013, at 1:00 AM PST
    • Like
  2. BrentB67 Inactive
    The King Prawn
    BrentB67: What nobody appears willing to address is who gets the bill for this treatment? The story quotes UNH having paid $1.2Million for the treatment to date.

    What is our expectation of our healthcare system? That hospitals be forced to care for those unable/unwilling to pay and that there is no amount insurance companies shouldn’t pay to pursue immortality?

    If so then the ACA seems like an almost rational response to irrational expectations.

    What is the conservative alternative? · 2 minutes ago

    Everyone seems to expect they’ll receive vastly more out of a risk pool than what they put into it. Reality dictates that some will be winners, but that most should assume to be losers. Of course, it’s not a far stretch to imagine this administration extolling the patriotic virtue of dying quietly so other, more favored people can live. · 0 minutes ago

    Very good analysis KP. My concern is that we are all very quick on the trigger to highlight the failings of Obamacare and trumpet this article. However, I haven’t seen anyone acknowledge the failings of our healthcare market that made Obamacare possible nor have I seen an alternative.

    • #2
    • November 5, 2013, at 1:02 AM PST
    • Like
  3. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… Coolidge

    The worst part about this? Even if Obamacare disappeared tomorrow, that woman would have to find an insurance carrier that would take her on with her preexisting condition. So Obamacare screwed up her insurance, and then left her in a worse position.

    Lightbulb!! Idea for next year’s “State of the Union” response: No speech from the Republican du jour. Just parade the people who’ve lost their insurance and/or their jobs in front of the camera. Tell their stories. There are millions, so it should take hours and hours and hours.

    That is certainly the current “State of the Union.”

    • #3
    • November 5, 2013, at 1:05 AM PST
    • Like
  4. Patrick McClure Coolidge
    What is our expectation of our healthcare system? That hospitals be forced to care for those unable/unwilling to pay and that there is no amount insurance companies shouldn’t pay to pursue immortality?

    If so then the ACA seems like an almost rational response to irrational expectations.

    What is the conservative alternative? · 6 minutes ago

    No one on the conservative side is saying that we are all entitled to healthcare ad infinitum. But this woman had a policy that was paying for her treatment, and now she will no longer have that. I am not mad at United Health for cancelling the policy, and I’m not mad at the policy-holder, who was receiving a benefit that she contracted and paid to receive, for spending $1.2 million. Each side took a chance that it would have the better part of this contract, and it appears the policy-holder has received the better benefit. I am upset that a socialist government thinks it should intervene in this contractual relationship, and by doing so has stripped this woman of her contractual benefits.

    • #4
    • November 5, 2013, at 1:08 AM PST
    • Like
  5. BrentB67 Inactive
    Patrickb63

    What is the conservative alternative? · 6 minutes ago

    No one on the conservative side is saying that we are all entitled to healthcare ad infinitum. But this woman had a policy that was paying for her treatment, and now she will no longer have that. I am not mad at United Health for cancelling the policy, and I’m not mad at the policy-holder, who was receiving a benefit that she contracted and paid to receive, for spending $1.2 million. Each side took a chance that it would have the better part of this contract, and it appears the policy-holder has received the better benefit. I am upset that a socialist government thinks it should intervene in this contractual relationship, and by doing so has stripped this woman of her contractual benefits. · 0 minutes ago

    Good points. I think the Obamacare intervention you point out only hastened the inevitable.

    • #5
    • November 5, 2013, at 1:10 AM PST
    • Like
  6. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… Coolidge
    The King Prawn

    Of course, it’s not a far stretch to imagine this administration extolling the patriotic virtue of dying quietly so other, more favored people can live.

    I always thought it was odd that the demon Alan Grayson said the GOP plan for healthcare was “die quickly.” I suppose that’s just more evidence of projection coming from the left.

    • #6
    • November 5, 2013, at 1:10 AM PST
    • Like
  7. BrentB67 Inactive
    DrewInWisconsin
    The King Prawn

    Of course, it’s not a far stretch to imagine this administration extolling the patriotic virtue of dying quietly so other, more favored people can live.

    I always thought it was odd that the demon Alan Grayson said the GOP plan for healthcare was “die quickly.” I suppose that’s just more evidence of projection coming from the left. · 0 minutes ago

    Of course that comes across as incredibly heartless, but does that mean that the answer is spare no expense to extend life until the only cause of death in the US is natural causes?

    • #7
    • November 5, 2013, at 1:11 AM PST
    • Like
  8. KC Mulville Inactive

    When you’re dealing with large groups, it’s frequently true that what’s good for the group is not so good for the individual. (That’s in Game Theory 101.)

    • For illustration, why don’t poor people simply gang up on the rest of us and throw their elbows around? If they organized, they could dominate the political scene.
    • The reason they don’t is simple math; once the group amasses past a certain size, each individual’s percentage of responsibility for it grows smaller and smaller. Pretty soon, in a large group of millions of people, the percentage is so small that each individual calculates that his contribution isn’t important – and therefore won’t be missed.
    • The benefits to a group become less likely as the individual incentives to avoid participating get stronger.

    Obamacare is a program that expects an awful lot of people to behave against their individual interests for the sake of the group.

    People usually act by following their best incentives. When their incentives lead away from where you want them to go, the people follow their incentives instead of you … even if you’re cool and give rhetorical speeches that mean nothing.

    • #8
    • November 5, 2013, at 1:26 AM PST
    • Like
  9. Kim K. Member
    Kim K.Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The press will notice if they discover something else about her, such as, she didn’t report all of her income from waitressing in 1977, or she was in a catty chick clique in high school, or she cheated on a spelling test in third grade. In other words, blame the victim.

    • #9
    • November 5, 2013, at 1:27 AM PST
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  10. MLH Inactive

    and just FYI: UHC is taking over and they reimburse for poop.

    • #10
    • November 5, 2013, at 1:36 AM PST
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  11. Vance Richards Member
    Vance RichardsJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Is it just a coincidence that this “bad apple” insurance company was offering excellent service right up until the time that Obamacare went into place?

    • #11
    • November 5, 2013, at 1:37 AM PST
    • Like
  12. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Patrickb63
    What is our expectation of our healthcare system? That hospitals be forced to care for those unable/unwilling to pay and that there is no amount insurance companies shouldn’t pay to pursue immortality?

    If so then the ACA seems like an almost rational response to irrational expectations.

    What is the conservative alternative?

    No one on the conservative side is saying that we are all entitled to healthcare ad infinitum. But this woman had a policy that was paying for her treatment, and now she will no longer have that. I am not mad at United Health for cancelling the policy, and I’m not mad at the policy-holder, who was receiving a benefit that she contracted and paid to receive, for spending $1.2 million. Each side took a chance that it would have the better part of this contract, and it appears the policy-holder has received the better benefit. I am upset that a socialist government thinks it should intervene in this contractual relationship, and by doing so has stripped this woman of her contractual benefits.

    This is the precisely the thing that insurance should cover: the rare, catastrophic event that is treatable.

    • #12
    • November 5, 2013, at 1:38 AM PST
    • Like
  13. Rob Long Founder

    Good Lord. These people are tone deaf.

    This is going to be a field day for midterm election candidates.

    If they can wrap Todd Akins around us, we should wrap this around them. All of them.

    • #13
    • November 5, 2013, at 1:39 AM PST
    • Like
  14. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White MaleJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    BrentB67: No, the press will not cover it extensively, but I disagree with the idea that the White House is going to lose over this.

    The headline and moral of the story sound awful both here and the original in the WSJ.

    What nobody appears willing to address is who gets the bill for this treatment? The story quotes UNH having paid $1.2Million for the treatment to date.

    What is our expectation of our healthcare system? That hospitals be forced to care for those unable/unwilling to pay and that there is no amount insurance companies shouldn’t pay to pursue immortality?

    If so then the ACA seems like an almost rational response to irrational expectations.

    Presumably her existing insurance contract specified how much they were willing to pay to keep this patient alive [AKA “lifetime cap”] and factored that amount into calculating the premiums paid to provide coverage.

    The ACA abolishes lifetime caps.

    So which system licenses “rational responses” and “irrational expectations”?

    • #14
    • November 5, 2013, at 1:40 AM PST
    • Like
  15. DrewInWisconsin, Man of Consta… Coolidge
    Rob Long: Good Lord. These people are tone deaf.

    This is going to be a field day for midterm election candidates.

    Never underestimate the GOP’s ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    • #15
    • November 5, 2013, at 1:42 AM PST
    • Like
  16. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    BrentB67
    DrewInWisconsin
    The King Prawn

    Of course, it’s not a far stretch to imagine this administration extolling the patriotic virtue of dying quietly so other, more favored people can live.

    I always thought it was odd that the demon Alan Grayson said the GOP plan for healthcare was “die quickly.” I suppose that’s just more evidence of projection coming from the left.

    Of course that comes across as incredibly heartless, but does that mean that the answer is spare no expense to extend life until the only cause of death in the US is natural causes?

    Brent, the answer is not to stop treating a rare cancer that seems to be responding well to treatment. The answer is to stop expecting the insurance system to cover routine care, like mammograms and, yes, birth control. Insurance ought to cover something uncommon like this gallbladder cancer, or at least one ought to be able to buy a plan that would cover this. 

    It’s like the difference between expecting your car insurance policy to cover the liability if you injure someone badly (rare, catastrophic) and expecting it to cover your oil changes.

    • #16
    • November 5, 2013, at 1:43 AM PST
    • Like
  17. BrentB67 Inactive
    DrewInWisconsin
    Rob Long: Good Lord. These people are tone deaf.

    This is going to be a field day for midterm election candidates.

    Never underestimate the GOP’s ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. · 10 minutes ago

    This is a case where the press on dem’s side really matters.

    If republicans take to the air and point this out the dem response is “fine, so what is your plan?”.

    The republican response is roll back ACA so she can keep her plan. The problem with that is that UNH goes bankrupt funding this without healthy people paying into the pool to offset the losses from this lady’s condition.

    So in absence of ACA she loses her coverage from UNH, but now has no nowhere to turn.

    I agree the ACA hastens the process, but by forcing people to buy into the market place or fine/tax/coerce them it creates the pool of healthy contributors.

    • #17
    • November 5, 2013, at 1:56 AM PST
    • Like
  18. Leslie Watkins Inactive
    Leslie WatkinsJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I agree completely, Lucy. All this “health care” rather than “hospitalization” (what they called medical insurance when I was a young worker and my policy cost me $50 a month) jacks up the price of services and, so, insurance. And while I’m not one who sees this whole third-party thing as being purely beneficial (seems wasteful to me, in the same way that government is wasteful when it tries to solve social problems and ends up getting in the way), the ACA makes the situation soooo much worse–and demonstrably unfair.

    Lucy Pevensie

    Brent, the answer is not to stop treating a rare cancer that seems to be responding well to treatment. The answer is to stop expecting the insurance system to cover routine care, like mammograms and, yes, birth control. Insurance ought to cover something uncommon like this gallbladder cancer, or at least one ought to be able to buy a plan that would cover this. 

    It’s like the difference between expecting your car insurance policy to cover the liability if you injure someone badly (rare, catastrophic) and expecting it to cover your oil changes. · 6 minutes ago

    • #18
    • November 5, 2013, at 1:56 AM PST
    • Like
  19. BrentB67 Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    BrentB67
    DrewInWisconsin
    The King Prawn

     

    Of course that comes across as incredibly heartless, but does that mean that the answer is spare no expense to extend life until the only cause of death in the US is natural causes?

    Brent, the answer is not to stop treating a rare cancer that seems to be responding well to treatment. The answer is to stop expecting the insurance system to cover routine care, like mammograms and, yes, birth control. Insurance ought to cover something uncommon like this gallbladder cancer, or at least one ought to be able to buy a plan that would cover this. 

    It’s like the difference between expecting your car insurance policy to cover the liability if you injure someone badly (rare, catastrophic) and expecting it to cover your oil changes. · 13 minutes ago

    Auto insurance pays for one accident and then can cancel the policy, it isn’t a good comparison.

    Who is responsible for paying for multi-million dollar cancer treatment regardless of how effective? Where does the money come from?

    • #19
    • November 5, 2013, at 1:58 AM PST
    • Like
  20. Hartmann von Aue Member
    DrewInWisconsin: The worst part about this? Even if Obamacare disappeared tomorrow, that woman would have to find an insurance carrier that would take her on with her preexisting condition. So Obamacare screwed up her insurance, and then left her in a worse position.

    Lightbulb!! Idea for next year’s “State of the Union” response: No speech from the Republican du jour. Just parade the people who’ve lost their insurance and/or their jobs in front of the camera. Tell their stories. There are millions, so it should take hours and hours and hours.

    That is certainly the current “State of the Union.” · 51 minutes ago

    Edited 45 minutes ago

    Not just then, Drew. Saturate the airwaves with these people for about six weeks prior to that special Tuesday in November 2014.

    • #20
    • November 5, 2013, at 2:00 AM PST
    • Like
  21. Leslie Watkins Inactive
    Leslie WatkinsJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    This is the kind of thing David Cutler is getting at in his 2010 memo to the administration: people who are ideologically rather than practically oriented (however much Obama tries to smooth talk us otherwise). The administration shook down the industry rather than meet providers halfway and develop areas of agreement on which to build trust for long-term logistical stability. No, these folks have to have it all their own way and act out accordingly. What the ObamaCare rollout makes perfectly clear is that this administation has the back of only some Americans. Maybe that’s the way it’s always been (wouldn’t doubt it), but never has it been sooooo obvious.

    • #21
    • November 5, 2013, at 2:04 AM PST
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  22. KayBee Inactive

    Good God. 62 years old is NOT elderly.

    • #22
    • November 5, 2013, at 2:09 AM PST
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  23. Mike K Inactive
    What is our expectation of our healthcare system? That hospitals be forced to care for those unable/unwilling to pay and that there is no amount insurance companies shouldn’t pay to pursue immortality?

    If so then the ACA seems like an almost rational response to irrational expectations.

    What is the conservative alternative? · 1 hour ago

    Hospitals care for the uninsured now. Google EMTALA. This is what catastrophic insurance is about. You pay for routine care but, if the worst happens, you are covered.

    Obamacare is insane as economic policy.

    • #23
    • November 5, 2013, at 2:10 AM PST
    • Like
  24. Bob Wainwright Member

    Ezekiel Emmanuel was on Fox yesterday and told Chris Wallace that the president can’t help it if private insurance companies drop plans. So it’s not Obamacare’s fault, technically. 

    This is like raising the minimum wage to $20/hour and then blaming the companies that cut jobs for cutting jobs… 

    And this doesn’t even address the insurance plans that were directly “outlawed” by Obamacare because they didn’t cover enough. I don’t know if this cancer patient was in one of those but either way it’s probably the most disingenuous argument imaginable.

     

    • #24
    • November 5, 2013, at 2:17 AM PST
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  25. Valiuth Member
    ValiuthJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    KayBee: Good God. 62 years old is NOT elderly. · 7 minutes ago

    You are right its ancient! 

    • #25
    • November 5, 2013, at 2:18 AM PST
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  26. iDad Inactive

    Tut, tut – what really matters is what Red Feline’s group of well educated Canadian women think.

    • #26
    • November 5, 2013, at 2:23 AM PST
    • Like
  27. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Yes, there were problems with the healthcare system, and its costs, before the advent of Obamacare.

    But those problems weren’t caused by the free market. Healthcare hasn’t operated in a free market for decades.

    It’s only going to get worse now.  This article explains that many of the nation’s top hospitals (where, I’m sure, we all think we’re going to be treated when we need care) won’t even accept the vast majority of the Obamacare insurances.

    Whose fault is it?

    “Just look at Seattle Children’s Hospital, which ranks No. 11 on the U.S. News & World Report best pediatric hospital list. When Obamacare rolled out, the hospital found itself with just two out of seven insurance companies on Washington’s exchange. The hospital sued the state’s Office of Insurance on Oct. 4 for ‘failure to ensure adequate network coverage.'”

    You tell me.

    And, by the way, don’t get sick.

    • #27
    • November 5, 2013, at 2:27 AM PST
    • Like
  28. Kenton Hoover Thatcher
    Kenton HooverJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I guess I missed something — wasn’t the whole point of this law so that people wouldn’t lose their health care if they got sick or in financial trouble?

    Less glibly, I wonder if the President is now upset he lashed himself to the mast on this one. You might recall he initially rejected the Obamacare label and now he’s fully embraced it.

    • #28
    • November 5, 2013, at 2:27 AM PST
    • Like
  29. KayBee Inactive
    Valiuth
    KayBee: Good God. 62 years old is NOT elderly. · 7 minutes ago

    You are right its ancient! · 10 minutes ago

    I suppose it will be once Obamacare comes into its full glory.

    • #29
    • November 5, 2013, at 2:30 AM PST
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  30. Chris L Inactive
    Patrickb63

    … Each side took a chance that it would have the better part of this contract, and it appears the policy-holder has received the better benefit. I am upset that a socialist government thinks it should intervene in this contractual relationship, and by doing so has stripped this woman of her contractual benefits. · 1 hour ago

    Great point Patrick. I also want to add that we need to be careful how we respond to this, especially as liberals are already saying that the free market caused her to lose her insurance. An example of cell phones would be great – “If you could buy a cell phone that cost twice as much, was twice as large, and worked only half as well as your current phone, would you buy it?” Exposing that liberals are saying “yes” to this similar question (in our case health insurance) is important in any rebuttal.

    • #30
    • November 5, 2013, at 3:26 AM PST
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