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October 1, 2015

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CHENEY FREE PRESS Thursday, October 1,2015 Planned Parenthood, a non-profit organization that provides reproductive health as well as maternal and child health services, has become a legislative target. Since July, Senate Republi- cans have made it their mission to take away the organization's federal funding after an under- cover video from anti-abortion groups supposedly revealed Planned Parenthood was profit- ing from selling fetal parts for medical researcK Senate Republicans intro- duced a spending bill that would strip Planned Parent- hood's funding for the year, which Democrats blocked. There's speculation that the issue could lead to a govern- ment shutdown, though officials such as John Boehner, (R-Ohio) who recently resigned from his position in Congress, and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, believe a shutdown would not happen. According to a Quinnipiac Uni- versity poll released Sept. 28, 69 percent of American voters op- pose shutting down the govern- ment over the funding dispute. Planned Parenthood, origi- nally formed as the American Birth Control Leaghe in 1921, has been a target of anti-abor- tion groups and conservatives because it offers abortion servic- es. Since the 1980s, Republicans have tried to defund the organi- zation on numerous occasions with a government shutdown almost taking place in 2011. According to its annual report, ,Planned Parenthood receives $528.4 million a year from the government, which accounts for 41 percent of its revenue sources. The rest of its money comes from private and non-government sources. While taking the organi- zation's federal dollars away would not eliminate even half of the funding it receives, we don't think defunding Planned Parenthood is a good idea. Most of the current argu- ments about Planned Parent- hood focus on its abortion ser- vices, which is only 3 percent of the total services the org.aniza- tion offers. Sexually transmitted infections/disease testing and treatment (42 percent), contra- ception services (34 percent), other women's health services (11 percent) and cancer screen- ing and prevention (9 percent) were the top four medical services Planned Parenthood performed in 2013, according to its annual report. The other women's health services includ- ed pregnancy tests and prenatal services. The organization also pro- vides counseling for its patients who don't feel comfortable go- ing to their parents or peers for fear of judgement. Planned Parenthood's big- gest goal is to give young women the tools to prevent unwanted pregnancies through sexual education and outreach. Their efforts have helped bring down teenage births, pregnan- cies and abortions in the last 20 years. Then there are the undercov- er videos the Center for Medi- cal Progress released where Planned Parenthood officials discuss procuring fetal tissues when conducting abortions. The videos, which are heavily edited, leave the impression that Planned Parenthood makes money from fetal tissue. In the unedited videos, Planned Parenthood officials reiterate that clinics want to cover their co. sts when donating fetal tissue for scientific research, and not make money. Planned Parent- hood also released a statement that said the tissue is taken after the patient gives their consent. While the sale of organs, both adult and fetal, by Planned Par- enthood for transplantation is illegal donation of tissue - both from aborted fetuses and from adults - is not. Payment for "reasonable" costs is also al- lowed under federal law. Sev- eral states launched investiga- tions into Planned Parenthood's offices only to find the organi- zation to be in compliance with state laws and regulations. Local elected leaders are still hoping to defund Planned Parenthood based on the edited videos. The Center for Medical Progress refuses to acknowl- edge the information presented in the unedited videos because it doesn't coincide with their arguments. Defunding Planned Parent- hood might accomplish the goal of anti-abortion activists and Republicans, but it could also mean the rise of illegal abor- tions and unwanted pregnan- cies, as well as abandoned and abused children. To continue making Planned Parenthood a legislative target is another example of Repub- licans and Democrats getting into these bickering sessions - only the GOP is using false information through biased sources to justify its moves. It's somewhat childish, and not what's best for our country. It's time for Congress to grow up. recomendations more harmful than helpful By ROBERT GOLDBERG Contributor A group of doctors has decided to rewrite the Hip- pocratic Oath. The ancient pledge charg- es physicians with applying "all measures that are re- quired" to help the sick. The American Society of Clinical Oncology wants to add a caveat -"unless those mea- sures are too expensive. Then let the patient die." The oncologists' group has developed a "concep- tual framework" that relies on cost-benefit analysis to determine the most "valu- able" treatments for different patients. Sounds innocent enough. But healthcare outcomes can- not be reduced to cost-ben- efit calculations. By focusing on the cost of a treatment - rather than its potential benefit -- the oncologists are allowing dollar signs to dic- tate whether a patient lives or dies. Under ASCO's framework, new treatments will be judged "based on clinical benefit, side effects and cost." Those are the exact same measures health insurers use in limiting patient access to treatments. Indeed, ASCO wants insurers to use its calculator to "evalu- ate the relative value of new treatments" as they develop benefit structures and adjust premiums. FREE PRESS Vol. 119-No. 24 Press Production Manager Randy Warwick Editor John McCallum Pressman Reporters Mark Cordes Paul Delaney AI Stover Sales Steve Barge Graphics DeeAnn Gibb Brittani Montecucco John Myers Front Office Dawn Chernak Rachel Stuart Bookkeeper/Office Manager Debi Labish Publisher Harlan Shellabarger The Editorial Board is composed of Paul Delaney, AI Stover, Brittani Montecucco, John McCallum and Harlan Shellabarger The Cheney Free Press is published every Thursday by the Free Press Publish- ing Company, William Ifft, president. Periodical post- age paid at Cheney, Wash. 99004. Published at 1616 W. First Street, Cheney, Wash. 99004. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Cheney Free Press, P.O. Box 218, Cheney, Wash. 99004-0218. ID PUBLICATION # 102240 The Free Press re- quests that contributors observe the following dead- lines, which will be strictly enforced: OBITUARIES, MEETINGS OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES - Tuesday, 10 a.m CHURCH, CLUB MEETINGS, ALL SOCIAL NEWS -- Monday, noon DISPLAY ADVERTISING -- Monday, 4 p.m. LEGAL NOTICES -- Monday, 5 ~.m. CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING -- Tuesday, 11 a.m. Rates: Addresses in Spokane County, $24 per year; $36 per year outside Spokane County; senior citizens in Spokane County, $22 per year. For other rates, call 235- 6184. Subscription cancellations are non-refundable! HOW TO CONTACT US Phone: 235-6184 Fax: 235-2887 emalh cfp Such "controls" could include shifting drugs to the highest cost-sharing tier of an insurance plan or requiring patients to try older, cheaper drugs before receiving the most cutting-edge therapies. Never mind that the Obama Administration has warned "placing most or all drugs that treat a specific condition on the highest cost tiers discourages enrollment by individuals based on age or based on health condi- tions" is discriminatory. The oncologists are ef- fectively asking insurers to discriminate against cancer patients - in direct contra- diction of the Affordable Care Act's intent. Further, ASCO has con- cluded that a treatment that can keep patients alive for weeks or months has no value. The framework assigns zero value to any treatment that doesn't increase survival by 20 percent. Right away, the formula would deem nu- merous modern treatmerits for cancer worthless. That 20 percent figure is arbitrary. Take a lung cancer patient who is alive today because of the accumula- tion of treatments that never made that arbitrary thresh- old. Cardiologists hailed a just approved drug that re- duces the risk of death from heart failure by 20 percent as revolutionary. Under ASCO's framework, sorry, not good enough. Between 1987 and 2000, various AIDS therapies in- creased patient life expec- tancy by less than 20 percent a year. Had ASCO's frame- work been instituted then, thousands of AIDS patients who benefited from those treatments wouldn't be alive today. ASCO defends its guide- lines by claiming that expen- sive new treatments have sown "unrealistic patient and family expectations that lead clinicians to offer or recom- mend some of these services, despite the lack of supporting evidence of utility or benefit." America's healthcare system can't afford limitless spend- ing on cancer treatments, the group says. True, spending on cancer drugs has risen. In 2014, it topped $100 billion. But that's just 1 percent of healthcare spending.: Moreover, these rAe'di- cines are worth their price tags. Successful drug therapies reduce overall costs by di- minishing the need for future medical attention. According to a study from the Center for Value and Risk in Health, specialty drugs "tend to con- fer greater benefits and hence may still offer reasonable value for money." Successful treatment also benefits the nation. Cancer survivors have contributed $4.7 trillion to the economy since 1990, simply by living and working longer. By valuing treatments based on costs rather than the benefit they provide to patients, the ASCO frame- work violates both the letter and spirit of the Hippocratic Oath. It should be scrapped before it puts patients in danger. Robert Goldberg is vice pres- ident of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest. Disclaimer: The views ex- pressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of the Cheney Free Press. liiiiiii II II John McCallum A1 Stover Paul Delaney Editor Staff Reporter Staff Reporter Main contact for all editorial content. Coy- Covers all Education (Gheney, Medical Covers all Business, Medical Lake High ers Cheney, Medical Lake and Airway Lake and Eastern Washington University) School and Eastern Washington Univer- Heights news as we//as se/ected Cheney as we//as se/ected Cheney High Schoo/ sity sports. Contact for miscellaneous High School sports. Sporta. sports. jmac O al @ cheneyfreepress.compdelaney O cheneyfreep~