Technology with attitude

Yet Another Example Of Private Health Care Rationing

28

As this health care debate continues, what I find puzzling is how people seem completely fine with private insurance companies denying care because they might lose money, but if the government would ever suggest rationing, well, it’s time for a revolt!

Take the case of Shelly Andrews-Buta, who was denied treatment for brain cancer because…wait for it…she went beyond the number of tumors that a certain piece of technology was allowed to operate on.

From CBS 5:

In late April, Shelly Andrews-Buta was scheduled to undergo treatment for breast cancer that had spread to her brain, threatening her life. […]

But instead of having doctors working to remove her brain tumors on the day the surgery was scheduled, she sat in a San Francisco hotel room. Why? Because at the last minute, her insurance company, Blue Shield, decided it wasn’t going to pay for the treatment her doctors at UCSF Medical Center had recommended. […]

Dr. Sneed, who is co-director of UCSF’s Gamma Knife Radiosurgery Program, described it as an amazing machine and the most appropriate treatment for Andrews-Buta.

But the doctor said when it came to getting Blue Shield’s approval for the procedure; she was surprised to learn that the company’s policy lays out that a patient who has more than three brain tumors, what doctors call lesions, would not be covered for the gamma knife procedure.

Do note that this was not a pre-existing condition. They simply said they weren’t going to pay for it, and that she had to settle for a procedure which has proven to be less effective and can produce incredibly bad side effects (according to her doctors).

Just remember this the next time you’re debating health care rationing.

Moving on…