Yes, the term "death panel" is pretty loaded, but it's also hard to deny the accuracy of the words when you read about government bureaucrats making medical decisions for the rest of us.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is on the verge of taking the highly unusual step of “decertifying” the cancer drug Avastin that it had previously approved. In addition to sparking concerns that this is another step towards medical rationing, the FDA’s proposal will worsen another important but less-frequently recognized danger of government-run health care — namely, the politicization of health benefits. Both problems will accelerate under ObamaCare unless our politicians repudiate the principle of government-run health care.
Avastin is used to help lengthen and improve the quality of life of patients with late-stage cancers of the colon, lung, kidney, and brain. (It cannot cure these terminal cancers.) As the Washington Post recently reported, the FDA had also approved it for late-stage breast cancer, but based on recommendations from its scientific advisory panel it is considering rescinding that approval on the grounds that the risks outweigh the benefits.
Paul Hsieh hits the nail on the head and points out that there is no reasonable way for the government to make medical decisions for everyone.
The basic problem is that government should not be making these sorts of medical coverage decisions at all. Neither the FDA, the USPSTF, the IPAB, nor any other alphabet-soup government agency should decide what treatments and procedures you may (or may not) receive when your life is at stake. Instead, patients should be allowed to purchase the treatments they wish (in consultation with their physicians) in a free market based on their own individual priorities and preferences.
People should be free to make these decisions themselves. Some people will make bad decisions, yes, but putting the government in charge of everyone just to protect bad-decision-makers from themselves is unjust and tyrannical.