Reporting from Washington -- President Obama suggested at a town hall event Wednesday night that one way to shave medical costs is to stop expensive and ultimately futile procedures performed on people who are about to die and don't stand to gain from the extra care.
In a nationally televised event at the White House, Obama said families need better information so they don't unthinkingly approve "additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not necessarily going to improve care."
He added: "Maybe you're better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller."
Obama said he has personal familiarity with such a dilemma. His grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given less than nine months to live, he said.
She fell and broke her hip, "and the question was, does she get hip replacement surgery, even though she was fragile enough they were not sure how long she would last?"
Obama's grandmother died two days before he was elected president in November. It was unclear whether she underwent the hip-replacement surgery.