I did not personally know Ms. Wagner, but she was first brought to my attention through an AARP magazine article approximately 1 year ago, and earlier this week, I heard through Fox News that she had passed away.
Barbara Wagner (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=5517492&page=1) was a retired school bus driver in the State of Oregon. She was a cancer survivor and a participant in the state of Oregon's universal health care program. Sadly, after a few years of remission, Ms. Wagner's cancer returned.
As of today, our Federal Government, the States of Oregon and Massachusetts, and many others in our society would say, "Thank God for universal health care ... as a poorly paid school bus driver, Ms. Wagner probably wouldn't be able to afford treatment without it."
Ms. Wagner recently lost her battle with cancer. My heart grieves for her family and friends who will miss her for many years to come. What breaks my heart even more is that had Oregon's universal health care program had it's way, Ms. Wagner would have died a year ago. As far as I know, Oregon is the only state in our nation who recognizes "assisted suicide", euthanasia, as a form of medical treatment. Under this "medical treatment" definition, Oregon's universal health care program not only has the right but also a responsibility to tax payers to administer assisted suicide to those whom they believe are terminally ill or will not be of an asset to Oregon's future economic base.
When Ms. Wagner's cancer returned, this 60+ year old lady was told by Oregon's universal health care program that she did not "qualify" for this type of cancer's treatment(s). However, she did qualify for "assisted suicide" drugs. A cost difference of approximately $50.00 for one dose of assisted suicide drugs / $4,000 per dose of cancer drugs. When Ms. Wagner told the state of Oregon she was not interested in the "assisted suicide" treatment option. The state of Oregon told her assisted suicide was the ONLY option they would pay for.
Ms. Wagner, declined Oregon's offer to pay for assisted suicide. Her situation did not go unnoticed. The pharmaceutical firm that produces the medications specific to Ms. Wagner's type of cancer stepped up and paid for her treatment which gave Ms. Wagner an additional year of life. Ms. Wagner had another year to spend with those she loves and cares for most. She had an extra year to finalize her finances and business commitments. She had an additional year to unite her soul with the Lord, if needed. But without thanks to the State of Oregon.
There is a lesson in this true news story for ALL American citizens to learn. Although, as of today, our Federal Government does not recognize euthanasia as a medical treatment option, we do not know what the future holds. There are a growing number in our nation who are tirelessly working to spread pro - euthanasia legislation. I recently heard that the State of Washington was considering it (again, that was something I've heard, but not confirmed at the time of this writing). Through Oregon's universal health insurance program, the citizens of Oregon have given the state of Oregon the power to decided when a person's life should end.
We all know that the cost of a federal universal health care system for our nation will carry a price tag of more than one trillion dollars, an amount of money that most of us can not comprehend. How will our already indebted nation pay for it? From the view out my window, we can't. We simply do not have the money. EVERY sector of our nation, government, businesses, banks, health care, individuals, are literally drowning in debt. Under a federally managed universal health care program it will be absolutely imperative to cut and trim any and all costs not beneficial (immediately and long term) to tax payers. Our government says rationing will not occur under their system. According to the math, rationing is the ONLY way their system will work. If you don't think rationing occurs in our federal government's current health care plans, Medicare and Medicaid, you need to talk with those currently being treated under these plans. Under Medicare we have scores of Senior Citizens carrying Medicare Insurance Supplement policies because Medicare "doesn't cover that treatment, or this procedure". Under Medicaid, we have women with a mild case of fibroid tumors being told to get hysterectomies because in the long run, it's cheaper than on going treatment plans or another baby. I've then met women who told me that afterwards Medicaid will not pay for hormonal therapy. I won't even go into the cost of fraud and waste under these programs that is high enough to pay off our national debt.
How much money is your health and life worth? What is the value of your loved one's health and life? According to the state of Oregon $50.00. I think Oregon is a good example of what a federally funded universal health care program holds for our nation. How much does our federal government think a human life is worth?
Does our nation need changes to health care? Absolutely. However, six months to rushing through a hurried plan to fix something that took decades to break? Mind blowingly ludicrous. We should be looking at the areas that are broken and focus on those one at time. As it is, we are, as my late grandmother would say, "throwing the baby out with the bath water".
I send my gratitude to the friends and family of Ms. Wagner. Because they supported her decision to decline Oregon's treatment option of her cancer. All of America SHOULD be able to "see the writing on the wall" regarding the future of a national universal health care system.
P.S. For those of you who may disagree with me, you have that right. However, it won't be necessary to infringe upon my Constitutional First Amendment Rights by forwarding my blog address to the White House regarding "fishy" internet communications about H.R. 3200. They already have my real name, address, telephone number, personal e-mail address, etc. They know what my opinions are and what I think because I e-mail, write, and call my Congressman, Senators and Mr. Obama quite regularly.