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.