It’s not the Republicans who want you to “die quickly”, it’s Obamacare UPDATE

During the Obamacare debate, Alan Grayson (D. Fl.) proclaimed that the Republican’s view of providing health care was “die quickly”. Luckily, Mr. Grayson is now not in Congress, but his statement, coupled with an article I recently read, gives brand new meaning to “die quickly”.

Last Friday in an effort to save money, the state of Washington’s Health Technology Assessment Program met to consider whether it’s Medicaid should cut back on the current level of glucose testing supplies it will cover for children with Type I diabetes. 

This struck a chord.

My stepson has Type I diabetes.  He was diagnosed at age 11, and, has a particularly insidious type of that disease.  He is a “brittle” diabetic.  What that means is that the levels of sugar in his blood (and others with this condition)  vary wildly even when they are practicing tight control over those levels.  But, to practice those tight controls, they need to use far more testing supplies per day than those who do not suffer from this condition.

The state of Washington’s  Health Technology Assessment Boards  preliminary report decides, however,

the ‘effectiveness and optimal frequency of self-monitoring of blood glucose in patients is controversial’

Not to my stepson.  Constant monitoring is critical to his survival.  Without it, he is at risk for seizures, and even death. 

But the Health Technology Assessment Board’s preliminary report has decided that the “average” Type I diabetes patient doesn’t need as much Medicaid money spent on him or her for testing supplies, and thus, let’s go with the “average”.  That is the problem with these “comparative effectiveness” programs.  Doctor’s will be required to treat any condition with the treatment called for by the “average” patient.  However, there are no “average” patients.  The “average” patient isn’t allergic to penicillin, but some are.  The “average” patient isn’t allergic to statins, but some are.

And lest you think that this type of “treatment”, or better said, lack of treatment, won’t affect you, think again.  Leah Hole-Curry, the director of Washington State’s Health Technology Assessment program was appointed last year by President Obama as a governor of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.  That’s Obamacare’s version of comparative effectiveness, or, as Jim would say, the death panels.


Fortunately, for all those children on Medicaid who have Type I diabetes, Washington State’s Health Technology Assessment program has decided not to limit the number of test strips or finger sticks that patients can use each day to some “average” number.  Logic tells us that an “average” number is just that…some diabetics need more tests per day than the average, and some need less.

But it took the testimony of the American Diabetes Association, the Endocrine Society, the Pediatric Endocrine Society and others to convince the 11 member board that there was really no “average” Type I diabetic.

It still amazes me though that this program’s initial report thought it a great idea to target the poor, the sick and the children in order to cut costs.




Posted in ,


The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.


  1. Dimsdale on March 21, 2011 at 6:01 am

    Let us hope that Øbamacare is not nearly as long lived as Grayson's brief tenure in the House.

  2. sammy22 on March 21, 2011 at 6:19 am

    True enough, there is no "average" human being. But average has to do w/ statistics, so if you ban "average" what do you look at: the tail/extremes of the distributions? You just look at the best cases and the worst cases? Cherry-picking is not something I subscribe to.

  3. steve418r on March 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Doctors should be the ones to order testing and treatment for all medical conditions. Bureaucrats should not be involved with treatment. They should stop thinking about reduced treatments and start thinking about tort reform so medical professionals can perform their duties without fear of frivolous lawsuits. Malpractice insurance and the excessive testing physicians order to cover themselves is a major burden to the individual's health care insurance premiums.

  4. Shared Sacrifice on March 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Obama's populism appeals to the average guy or the average patient- but if you're on either side of the curve, you'll receive a dead fish in the mail!

  5. winnie888 on March 22, 2011 at 12:53 am

    In my humble opinion, using "averages" in medicine is, at the very least, unethical.   By making the use of averages part of a law (that has been determined to be unconstitutional) to reduce the costs related  O-Care is despicable.  Health care for all except for those with preexisting conditions that require expensive meds./testing supplies?  This was a bad joke from day one and only continues to get worse.

  6. Don Lombardo on March 22, 2011 at 5:18 am

    Average: Unfortunately, Obama is on the wrong side of AVERAGE.

  7. sammy22 on March 22, 2011 at 6:08 am

    Not surprisingly, the discussion veered into an anti-Obama issue. "The “average” patient isn’t allergic to penicillin, but some are.  The “average” patient isn’t allergic to statins, but some are", says SOS. That's why the question is asked in doctor's office or hospital. And, if one had not taken penicillin or statins, how would one know?

    • Dimsdale on March 23, 2011 at 8:27 am

      Why do you think they call it "Øbamacare"?


The website's content and articles were migrated to a new framework in October 2023. You may see [shortcodes in brackets] that do not make any sense. Please ignore that stuff. We may fix it at some point, but we do not have the time now.

You'll also note comments migrated over may have misplaced question marks and missing spaces. All comments were migrated, but trackbacks may not show.

The site is not broken.