Absolutely nothing about this is theoretical. There are a multitude of treatments out there that cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, some of which are covered by insurance/Medicare and some which are not.Good thing this is all theoretical, since nothing costs that much.
Let's say that Medicare agrees to cover the cost of drugs dealing with Hepatitis C. The drugs currently on the market cost $5,000. Say that next year a drug company introduces a better drug that costs $10,000. The following year it's a better one costing $15,000, so on and so forth.And why would we agree that Medicare would pay for it in the first place? It should pay for it if it fits some category that it has agreed to pay for in the first place. Whether it pays for it, or how much of it it pays for, does not then vary with how much it costs.
You can't just dodge the question by saying "oh well no drug costs $50m." This exact issue comes up constantly and is something that we as a country need to face.
Your insurance agreement specifies whether or not it covers every single drug on the planet? Or does it simply say that it will cover all reasonable expenses? How do you think that insurance companies determine what to cover and what not to cover?Except that whether or not something is covered by insurance is not, and should not be, entirely decided on a case-by-case basis, but agreed on early on, usually in the form of a contract.
I'm not saying they "don't cover breast cancer or Parkinson's" at all, I'm saying that as new and expensive treatments are developed, they are not automatically covered.Why wouldn't insurance companies cover breast cancer or Parkinson's? More importantly, why hadn't they until they were lobbied to do so? There's something fishy about that.
And with all due respect, I think you're sacrificing reason for emotionality. I know it's proper to say that we should do everything possible, but that's not really a realistic position.If that's true, which I doubt it is, then I guess I don't want health care spending "under control". High as our health care spending might be, we have, among other things, the highest cancer survival rates in the world (breast cancer included). Why you want to change that, I don't know.
I find how little value you place in human life depressing.
I keep coming back to this exercise because if you really force yourself to answer it, I don't think you'll be able to maintain your position:
Medicare covers cancer treatment. If pharmaceutical companies develop a new type of cancer treatment that increases your life expectancy by 3 months but costs $200,000, should Medicare pay for it? What if it only costs $50,000, but only increases life expectancy by 1 month? By one day?
Last edited by RightinNYC; 01-20-10 at 06:38 PM.
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