Sunday, September 27, 2009

Death panels coming to Australia

Courtesy of a Leftist government, of course: The same folk who brought you eugenics in the first half of the 20th century. This already happens in England and is much feared by opponents of ObamaCare -- after evil Ezekiel proposed such measures

DYING cancer patients could be weaned off taxpayer-funded drugs as the Federal Government is confronted with spiralling health costs. Health Minister Nicola Roxon wants debate about the moral challenge as the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee plans trials to determine when costly drugs become ineffective and should no longer be dispensed.

Talks between the PBAC and oncologists are part of a broader debate on how taxpayer money could be better spent, as doctors brace themselves for a rising tide of cancer patients, an ageing population and growing health expenses.

Ms Roxon is also believed to be talking to doctors and pharmacists about diverting patients to some cheaper generic drugs. It could spark greater competition and save the Government millions of dollars. [But see here]

Ms Roxon argues that relief from cancer drugs in the last months of life should not be underestimated, but says some are not cure-alls. "Would the community support looking at mechanisms to better control the use of these medicines so that they are only used when the evidence shows they are truly effective, balanced by greater investment in palliative care, so we can better meet the needs and preferences of patients at the end of life?" The question recently put to doctors in Sydney comes as PBAC chairman Lloyd Sansom stressed that moves to keep the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme sustainable would not impeach or impair patient safety. The PBS costs taxpayers $8 billion a year for more than 3500 subsidised medicines.

Prof Sansom said more information was needed. "We need trials to be done ... to address any advantages in continuing with drugs when the patient (cancer) has progressed. If there is any benefit," he said.

The Australian Medical Association vice-president Steve Hambleton said the issue was sensitive and some doctors had trouble saying "no" to patients. "If you're on your last legs, there's no point in having expensive chemotherapy if there's no clinical benefits," Dr Hambleton said.

But apart from cancer drugs - which can cost taxpayers up to $50,000 a patient - Ms Roxon is asking why doctors dispense expensive, subsidised drugs to patients when cheaper generics are prescribed.

Ms Roxon told The Courier-Mail yesterday the Government had to be smarter in how health dollars were allocated. "The current pharmacy agreement negotiations are very important," she said.


Disgraceful government treatment of military widows

SIX months after her husband was killed fighting in Afghanistan, Breeanna Till is broke - let down by the government that promised solemnly to look after her. Heavily pregnant with the child Sergeant Brett Till will never know, the Sydney widow fears becoming like "a single mum on the dole" when she gives birth in a few weeks, the Sunday Telegraph reports.

The $905 weekly pay her husband brought home lasted just a fortnight after he died in a roadside bomb explosion. In its place, the military gave Mrs Till a compensation payment of just $305 a week.

Sgt Till, 31, was a much-respected explosive ordnance disposal technician from the Incident Response Regiment, stationed at Holsworthy. On March 19, he was with a group of soldiers conducting "route clearance" work in southern Afghanistan when an improvised explosive device was found.

Mrs Till, who looks after Jacob, 10, and Taleah, 7, Sgt Till's children from a previous marriage, is employed as an school art teacher but will soon receive her final pay cheque as she goes on maternity leave. Last week, she broke down in tears as she told a Department of Veterans' Affairs review panel of her plight at a public meeting in Sydney. "What the DVA are offering the family of a man who died in the service of his country is the same as if I was on the dole as a single mum," she said. "It's disappointing... The public opinion is if a guy is killed overseas, his family will be looked after."

Defence Force head Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said Sgt Till was "highly skilled and very courageous". "I can think of no more admirable action, nor one more worthy of our gratitude and respect, than that of this fine soldier today," he said at the time. "To the family, I say that our thoughts and prayers - my thoughts and prayers - are with you. I'll ensure you're supported through your time of grief." In a condolence speech to Parliament, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd offered the Till family "profound sympathy".

Mrs Till said it had been "difficult" to deal with the issue. "Obviously, I've had to deal with Brett's death itself, but when he died we got the rest of that fortnight's pay, one extra fortnight's payment, then it stopped. "Fortunately, I've been at work still, but the difference between Brett's pay and the compensation is vast."

She said the Department of Veterans' Affairs had also given her a choice of whether to receive a pension or a lump sum. "It's like having to choose whether to house the family or feed them. The lump sum won't pay for a house, the pension won't pay the rent and bills."

The Federal Government is reviewing the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act after a series of complaints by former servicemen.


Homosexuals want to impose themselves on churches

Laws that are already oppressive are not oppressive enough for queers

GAY rights advocates have criticised slated changes to Victoria's equal opportunity laws that will continue to allow religious organisations to discriminate against gays and single parents.

State Attorney-General Rob Hulls said a new Equal Opportunity Bill will be introduced into parliament next year. Under the changes, religious groups will no longer be able to discriminate on the grounds of race, disability, age, physical features, political belief or breastfeeding. But they can continue to discriminate on grounds including sexuality or marital status if it is in accordance with their beliefs.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome says the right to employment and education is more important than pandering to religious prejudice. "Too often this issue is seen as gay rights versus religious freedom when, in fact, it is about the right to a job you're qualified for, to attend the school of your choosing and to receive essential services," he said.

Australian Christian Lobby director Rob Ward said some of the options canvassed as part of a review of exemptions to the Equal Opportunity Act, had they been implemented, would have had serious repercussions for churches, religious schools and church-related organisations. "Faith-based groups throughout Victoria have been united in their strong concern about a number of the options being looked at as they would have undermined the very core of these bodies by preventing them from upholding their beliefs in terms of who they employ and, therefore, how they operate," he said. "It is good to see the Victorian Government respecting those concerns and the basic right to religious freedom in this state."

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission chief executive Helen Szoke said the proposed revamp of the law was a positive step towards a better balance between religious freedom and anti-discrimination. She said she was pleased religious bodies would soon have to demonstrate how employing someone of a particular religion is an inherent requirement of a job. "Religious schools or religious charities, for example, will have to show how belonging to a particular religion is relevant to the job they are trying to fill," Dr Szoke said. "In the case of religious education teachers or chaplains, this will be clear. However, in the case of office staff or the maths teacher it will need to be made explicit how religion is relevant to the job."


More news about the "drought"

Greenies told us solemnly and at length that recent water shortages in some parts of Australia signalled global warming. Does the news below then signal global cooling?

BILLIONS of litres of water are being released out to sea as Adelaide's largest reservoir nears capacity following torrential rain - with more on the way this weekend. SA Water this morning started releasing water from the Mt Bold Reservoir for the first time in almost four years as heavy rain pushed storage levels in Adelaide’s metropolitan reservoirs to 84 per cent.

SA Water spokeswoman Courtney Blacker said an estimated three billion litres could be diverted from Mt Bold dam, along the Onkaparinga River and out to sea by the end of the day. Happy Valley reservoir, which usually takes excess water from Mt Bold, is also close to capacity meaning water must be diverted into the Gulf.

"In the past four days there has been too much water which is a good thing to say,’’ Ms Blacker said. "It’s been 2005 since it (Mt Bold) has been flooded and it’s exciting to see the reservoirs getting full and we haven’t had to pump any River Murray water since July.’’

The public lookout at Mt Bold reservoir has been closed since 4.30am today as a safety precaution while police are urging the public to be aware of fast-flowing water further downstream at the Clarendon Weir. [Being a born pedagogue, I will note once again that the difference between a weir and a dam is that water does not flow over a dam. A weir is a simple barrier]


1 comment:

Paul said...

Given the amount of public money wasted pursuing hopeless medical treatment in order to placate aggressive and ignorant relatives, I would have no problem with a "Death Panel" being available to adjudicate some cases, with legal teeth to back it up. So many people these days seem to think the big questions of life can be answered in their favour just by loudly registering a formal complaint or going to Today Tonight. Or just yelling abuse at the caregivers.