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August 13, 2009

Matt Yglesias: Evil Monger!!!!

Apparently, Google is not Matt Yglesias' friend:

It’s too bad that repeated, endless, flagrant dishonesty doesn’t do much of anything to damage a politician’s ability to be taken seriously as a sober-minded centrist deal-maker, or Chuck Grassley would be in a world of pain:

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy would be refused treatment for his brain tumor in England — at least according to one of the allegations lobbed at Britain’s state-funded health-care service recently by critics of President Obama’s proposed health-care reforms. Such claims have irked British health officials, who say they are misleading, exaggerated and sometimes just plain wrong. [...]

Yep. Lies. All lies. Why, the very idea is ludicrous. Completely unfounded. But hey! Who needs facts when engaging in character assassination works so well!

As for the Temodar Kennedy is taking, the drug has been approved for use in the U.S. since 2000, but Britain’s National Institute for Comparative Effectiveness ruled that the drug wasn’t worth the money and denied coverage for it for seven years.

Even today, only a handful of people with brain tumors can get Temodar, and Brits who want to pay for the drug out of their own pocket are forced to pay for all their cancer care — about $30,000 a month, according to Goldberg. He notes:

“Barack Obama and other Democrats have been pushing a Senate bill to set up a similar U.S. ‘review board’ for Medicare and any future government healthcare plan.”

Goldberg also points out that in Canada, the wait for an MRI — after a referral is granted — is 10 weeks, and the government healthcare system refuses to pay for treatments that are often covered in the U.S.

Oooh... but can we really trust a reich wing rag? Yes, yes we can, when the Brits are reporting that lifesaving drugs available in other countries aren't available in the UK:

One of the world’s leading drug companies is threatening to withdraw some of its new cancer treatments from the process by which they are approved for use in the National Health Service.

Cancer patients in Britain will consequently be denied more effective drugs that are available to sufferers in other countries.

Roche, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant, has already refused to supply economic data on its drug Avastin for treatment of lung and breast cancer to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), the authority that evaluates the cost-effectiveness of medicines for the NHS. This means Avastin will not be available on the NHS for those diseases.

And then there's the whole issue of how companies react in the real world to bureaucratic red tape that costs them money:

Roche said last week it will consider withdrawing from other evaluations rather than submit products only for them to be rejected by Nice as too expensive.

The statement is the latest twist in the growing row over decisions by Nice. Earlier this month Nice caused an outcry in a preliminary decision when it rejected the use of Avastin (also known as bevacizumab), Sutent (sunitinib), Nexavar (sorafenib) and Torisel (temsirolimus) as too expensive to treat kidney cancer.

Not to mention those pesky British cancer survival rates:

The alternative to these drugs for many patients is death,” said Jonathan Waxman, professor of oncology at Imperial College, London. “Nice is making terrible mistakes.”

The survival rates for cancer in Britain are already among the lowest in Europe — on a par with Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, according to data published last year. However, cancer charities acknowledge there has been significant improvement in rates since the government made the issue a priority with its NHS Cancer Plan, first launched in 2000.

But surely patients in the UK who demonstrate a "clinical need" wouldn't be denied life extending drugs!

we were told Temozolomide was a breakthrough drug but we were then told it was not available at British hospitals, only in certain clinical trials. We conferred with our private insurers and they have agreed to pay £400 a shot for the drugs. It will work out at £10,000 for a course of treatment which is due to start in March."

Professor Roy Rampling, a UK expert in brain tumours, said drugs like Temozolomide were "the biggest breakthrough in treating brain tumours in 30 years", and are "standard care in many other developed countries".

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) initially rejected them but said no final decision had been made. A preliminary recommendation from the Nice appraisal committee concluded that the treatments should not be widely used for the treatment of the aggressive form of brain cancer known as high-grade glioma, with which Mr Dargavel has been diagnosed.

Hmmm. Doesn't Ted Kennedy have a glioma? Why yes, yes he does! Oh well, at least patients can still go outside the system and pay for life saving drugs themselves...

A Grandmother whose free NHS treatment was withdrawn because she paid privately for anti-cancer drugs has died.

Yesterday Linda O'Boyle's husband condemned the policy behind the decision and said it had made his dying wife's last months even more stressful.

Mrs O'Boyle, 64, had been receiving state-funded treatment - including chemotherapy - for colon cancer.

But when she took cetuximab, a drug which promised to extend her life but is not available on the NHS, her health trust made her start paying for her care.

Not. Gosh - don't you just hate lying liars who lie about British health care? Infuriating, isn't it?

But at least he's not engaging in flagrant dishonesty.

Posted by Cassandra at August 13, 2009 05:46 PM

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Comments

Well, Ted Kennedy would get whatever care he needed or wanted from the UK. He's a VIP.

Now, some any-old-fool who wanted the same care, that's another question.

Posted by: Grim at August 13, 2009 07:27 PM

"Sen. Edward M. Kennedy would be refused treatment for his brain tumor..."

That's not a tumor; that is his brain...such as 'tis.

Posted by: camojack at August 14, 2009 03:50 AM

health care plan is beautiful gift for people but they stand against the obama..why ??

Posted by: surrey at August 14, 2009 06:53 AM

Yah, beautiful gift but for Government fingers stuck in citizen pocket to seize citizen coin to pay for free, beautiful gift.
Or government management of citizen confidential health records.
Or government control of if/when/where/what care is provided citizen.
Or government pencil-necked, Nihilistic geek weighting relative cost-benefit of life for newborn versus laborer-peasant versus aged/disabled/infirm,
etc.,

Yah! Beautiful gift... *spit*

Posted by: bthun at August 14, 2009 07:51 AM

I can't imagine anyone saying "Free beautiful gift..." with a straight face. I remember some of the snark coming from the left regarding Palin and her refusal to abort her son Trig who has DownSyndrome.

Right thinking people would not place health care decisions anywhere near people who advocate abortion as birth control and discussions of pill colors and decisions based on return-on-investment regarding seniors. Denying health care based on age and viability devalues life. Decisions like that are between the family doctor, the patient, and the family. The bureacrats attempting to intrude on this aspect of life are the evil mongers.

Posted by: vet66 at August 14, 2009 09:42 AM

Trust me, the face was not straight Vet66...

The current Administration and more than a majority of the Congress have earned a level of contempt that leaves me with little to say other than to ridicule. And only when I can suppress the bile long enough to speak of them at all.

Posted by: bthun at August 14, 2009 10:00 AM

Posted by: Joe Campbell at August 14, 2009 01:12 PM

Two points :)

1. Where in this post did I assassinate his character?

2. You're not big on providing documentation, are you?

I wonder how many folks died while NICE was considering whether Temodal was "worth it"?

Source 1:
http://www.nypost.com/seven/06052008/postopinion/opedcolumnists/how_liberal_care_would_kill_ted_114032.htm

Consider, too, the chemo drug Kennedy is receiving: Temodar, the first oral medicine for brain tumors in 25 years.

Temodar has been widely used in this country since the FDA approved it in 2000. But a British health-care rationing agency, the National Institute for Comparative Effectiveness, ruled that, while the drug helps people live longer, it wasn't worth the money - and denied coverage for it.

Barack Obama - and other Democrats - have been pushing a Senate bill to set up a similar US "review board" for Medicare and any future government health-care plan.

After denying this treatment completely for seven years, the NICE (did whoever named it intend the irony?) relented - partly. Even today, only a handful of Brits with brain tumors can get Temodar.

And if you want to pay for Temodar out of your own pocket, the British system forces you to pay for all of your cancer care - about $30,000 a month.

Source 2:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121668625082172105.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

A drug called Temodal is the U.S. standard of care for Sen. Kennedy's type of brain cancer. In Britain, a government body charged with funding decisions -- the euphemistically named NICE, or National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence -- ruled in 2001 that Temodal wasn't worth the money as a first-line treatment; in 2007, they partially lifted the prohibition. Patients can still get the drug, they just need to pay out of pocket -- for all their cancer care. The National Health Service recently ruled that if patients opt out of one type of care (say by getting Temodal), they opt out of all publicly funded care.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 14, 2009 01:38 PM

Google is not your friend either. Temodar was invented by British scientists and has in fact been available through the National Health Service since 2005.

What he *said* was "...Temodar...has been approved for use in the U.S. since 2000, but Britain’s National Institute for Comparative Effectiveness ruled that the drug wasn’t worth the money and denied coverage for it for seven years." Temozolomide -- Temodar -- *was* developed in the UK, but was unavailable in the UK until five years *after* its use was approved in the US, and only then because its use was deemed "cost-effective."

I got *that* info from your links. Thanks.

But I don't really understand how an info release on an anti-cancer drug relates to character assassination...

Posted by: Will at August 14, 2009 01:55 PM

Apparently, attempting to refute a factual assertion is now "character assassination" :p

Which really leaves no room for civil debate, since even if you confine the discussion to the facts, the mere "fact" that you don't agree is an ad hominid attack.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 14, 2009 02:03 PM

You're only disagreeing because it's obvious you have a weakness for airing the facts, which makes you a racist.

Posted by: Will at August 14, 2009 02:09 PM

I would say this line is an attack on Yglesias's character as you clearly are attributing this attitude to him:

Who needs facts when engaging in character assassination works so well!

I'm not sure why you say I'm "not big on providing documentation." I provided a link to the one point you're disputing - that Temodar is not approved for use in Britain (http://www.physorg.com/news95533272.html)

And your documentation is two opinion pieces. Maybe they're right - but they don't cite any news source. The one thing I especially would question is this:

And if you want to pay for Temodar out of your own pocket, the British system forces you to pay for all of your cancer care - about $30,000 a month.

I haven't found any reports of this - and you would think there would be. There are tons of reports of outrage in Britain over the fact that Temador wasn't allowed before...

And though you wonder "how many folks died while NICE was considering whether Temodal was 'worth it'" - I wonder how many people die because they lack any insurance at all, or lack sufficient insurance - and can't afford the treatments...

No matter what system you choose, there are tradeoffs. Do you know how many horror stories there are about America's system as it is?

(Btw - I did misstate the date NHS approved Temador above - it was 2007 not 2005.)

And by not challenging my assertion again, does that constitute an admission that what the Democrats are proposing is nothing like Britain's NHS?

Posted by: Joe Campbell at August 14, 2009 02:16 PM

FWIW (and for the sake of accuracy) there are American plans that don't cover Temodar b/c it is too expensive. Some do, some don't.

The difference is that they don't deprive you of medical coverage if you have the temerity to say "OK. I want it anyway and I'll pay for it myself."

Posted by: Cassandra at August 14, 2009 02:19 PM

Here's the argument:

  • Yglesias said that Grassley was lying when he said that "Sen. Edward M. Kennedy would be refused treatment for his brain tumor in England."
  • Cassandra made fun of this and quoted an opinion piece that seemed to contradict Yglesias - pretty clearly saying Yglesias was lying about Grassley lying.
  • I pointed out that Yglesias was right - and that Grassley was wrong and the opinion piece was misleading.

I'm not saying you were engaging in character assassination by talking about whether Temador was legal or not in Britain. Instead, I was referring to your clear accusation that Yglesias - by calling Grassley a liar for saying something that is indisputably false - didn't care about the facts and was engaging in character assassination...

These are the facts.

Posted by: Joe Campbell at August 14, 2009 02:27 PM

1. It is not character assassination to point out what a person *does*, Joe :p

2. Yglesias, on the other hand, didn't say Grassley was mistaken, that he was too lazy to do his research, or that he lied *once*. The phrase he applied to Grassley was, and I quote:

repeated, endless, flagrant dishonesty.

IOW, he called Grassley a habitual, bald faced liar.

3. What I did (since you seem not to have caught my point) was demonstrate how offensive it is when people can't just argue the facts, but insist on imputing malice to those who disagree with them.

The point (again, since you seem to have missed it entirely) was simply this:

Was calling Grassley a habitual liar for saying something which appears rather well grounded in fact really necessary to refute Grassley's point?

No, it was not. And your taking offense to the my little demonstration just shows how gratuitously offensive what Yglesias did really is. It was OK for him to call Grassley a habitual liar without backing up the charge.

But when I pointed out that Yglesias was wrong on a whole slew of counts and applied the same argumentation technique you thought was just hunky dory when your buddy did it, you got your nose out of joint. Hopefully you understand now.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 14, 2009 02:37 PM

1. I agree that that isn't character assassination. What comes close - and is an ad hominem attack - though is suggesting the person is careless, wrong, and/or a liar - as you did.

2. Yglesias accuses Grassley of two lies. As I said above - there are two lies Yglesias is accusing Grassley of making: both that the Democrat proposed system is anything like NHS; and second, that regarding how Ted Kennedy would be treated.

And while you're right that Grassley may have simply been ignorant about the basic facts of his claim - that he may have simply taken them from a NYPost op-ed which he didn't read closely - is a pretty damning statement on its own.

But the liberal blogosphere has been frustrated over at least 2 outrageous statements Grassley has made about health care - from quasi-endorsing the idea that the Dem bill has gov't forced euthanasia to this statement about Kennedy.

"Endless" is almost certainly an overstatement. "Repeated" is probably right.

And you are right that rather than dishonesty, Grassley might simply be incompetent. Yglesias should have taken that into account.

3. What "slew of counts" did you show Yglesias was wrong on? What did Grassley say that was "rather well grounded in fact"?

You bring up the point that Yglesias didn't prove Grassley lying - that Grassley may just have been incompetent. But that doesn't make Yglesias "wrong" - it shows the motive he imputed to Grassley may be wrong.

You're correct that I didn't see your post as a kind of post-modern attempt to mock Yglesias by calling Yglesias a liar, etc. because you were taking a pose of presuming his bad faith as he did of Grassley...

4. My "nose" isn't "out of joint" over your post. I've read much worse. I just enjoy talking politics with people.

Posted by: Joe Campbell at August 14, 2009 03:48 PM

Calling someone a habitual liar just because you're "frustrated" is a pretty poor rhetorical device.

Doing so without proof (which you just admitted Yglesias did) is even worse.

Character assassination is an accurate description of the practice of imputing malicious or dishonest motives to him absent clear evidence.

Question for the day: what kind of person does things like this? :p

Finally, I didn't call Yglesias a liar. This is what I said:

Gosh - don't you just hate lying liars who lie about British health care? Infuriating, isn't it?

Reference to Michael Smalley's book, by the way. A book about CONSERVATIVES, not liberals. The point was not that Yglesias is a liar, but that he's wrong to call Grassley one.

But at least he's [he being Yglesias] not engaging in flagrant dishonesty.

Translation: even if Yglesias is wrong in this instance, that doesn't make him a liar.

A subtle reader might detect the hint there: even if Grassley were factually wrong, there is no evidence he is an habitual liar (or at least Yglesias didn't present any evidence to that effect). Could it have been an unjustified accusation?

Hmmmm.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 14, 2009 03:59 PM

What comes close - and is an ad hominem attack - though is suggesting the person is careless, wrong, and/or a liar - as you did.

Sorry. Stating that a person is careless with the facts, or is just plain wrong in his interpretation of them, then providing examples, or calling him a liar and citing examples of those lies, is *not* argumentum ad hominem, much as the Left likes to claim it is.

An ad hominem attack would be introducing elements of a person's personal life into the argument which are not germane to the subject at hand.

For example, calling me a liar based on some falsification of fact in one of my war stories wouldn't be an ad hominem attack -- calling me an imperialist warmongering contractor parasite *would* be.

Posted by: BillT at August 14, 2009 04:22 PM

" I wonder how many people die because they lack any insurance at all, or lack sufficient insurance - and can't afford the treatments..."

Who cares about people who have no, or inadequate, insurance? Nobody - if a man has no or inadequate insurance, he deserves what's coming to him. Survival of the fittest, pure and simple. Clean out some of muck in the gene pool, you betcha!

Posted by: I Call BS at August 14, 2009 06:07 PM

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