Obama Seeks to Change the Definition of Cancer (And the Number of People Who Receive Treatment)


Need a new reason to abhor Obamacare? Looking for more cause to distrust the government?

With the implementation of Obamacare upon us, the government has decided it is time to start talking cancer, and time to reduce the number of people who are diagnosed each year. This doesn’t mean being tougher on cancer and more diligent with preventative care, as you might have assumed. No, instead, the Obama Administration wants to change what we define as cancer—therefore changing who receives (government funded) treatment.

Yeah, you read that correctly. Under the Obama Administration’s suggested definition, only those that are actively dying can claim cancer as the condition they are battling.

The National Cancer Institute (the main government agency for cancer research) insists on redefining the term cancer in the name of medical technology advancements. They claim that medical technology has advanced to the point of letting doctors detect small/slow growing tumors that aren’t fatal; and when the patients with these small tumors hear the word cancer they overreact, and often seek out further testing, radiation, or surgeries. Based on this logic, the government is attempting to reduce expenses by cutting out unnecessary “overtreatment” expenditures.

It is no small irony that this revelation coincides with the enactment of Obamacare – as the bureaucracy secures more control over healthcare, it wastes no time in trying to control who has access to the promised government-subsidized treatment.  As Paul Hsieh notes in Forbes:

“It is true that some patients wrongly view the word ‘cancer’ as the equivalent of a death sentence and become overly distraught…But while there are legitimate scientific and medical questions about the proper definition and classification of any disease (including cancer), we must be careful that that any redefinition won’t be used for inappropriate political purposes. Given the increasing government control over US health care, how the government defines medical terms can have serious economic and policy implications.”

And with the government currently controlling 66 percent of health care spending, of course they have vested interest in restricting the number of people who qualify for treatment; of course they are motivated toward under-treatment. It is a negative and unavoidable consequence of government run healthcare.

And that is the largest problem with the government taking over healthcare: it will always have incentive to reduce costs (and the number of patients treated). Practicing radiologist Dr. Milton Wolfe warns against this “Orwellian” possibility:

“Health care rationing takes many insidious forms but perhaps the most immoral is for the government to wage a public relations campaign designed specifically to dissuade patients and doctors from seeking available cures for cancer. They scheme to rename cancer, not to cure it, but to deny it exists. These government rationers have calculated that rather than actually treat patients with cancer, it’s cheaper to simply keep them calm… right up to the very end.”

Cancer tests and treatment are expensive, and the government doesn’t want to foot the chemotherapy bill for lesions that don’t have a “reasonable likelihood of killing the patient.” This redefining of the word cancer has absolutely nothing to do with improving healthcare, with saving lives, or with saving patients unnecessary anxiety; it is no more than an underhanded and surreptitious attempt at rationing. It is a cloak-and-dagger attempt to restrict who can benefit from healthcare system overpromised to us by Obama himself.