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The High Cost to Live

Two weeks ago my 90-year-old mother in law was diagnosed with lung cancer. According to her son/my husband, she never smoked a day in her life so this was surprising news. But that's not what this blog is all about.

This blog is about the prescription charges associated with treating this form of cancer. The doctor who treated her during her stay in the hospital wrote a prescription for a drug called Tarceva and told us the cost for a 30-day supply would be between $5,000 and $7000 depending on her insurance coverage. Medicare, we were told, doesn't cover the expense because it is an experimental drug. We were also told there was no guarantee with the medication. It might prolong her life for six months.

My first question is, what ingredients could be in a pill that would warrant charging that much money?

My mother in law is 90-years-old and spent her entire career as a nurse. If she is being used as a guinea pig, why isn't the drug FREE?

How can a drug company in good conscious charge such an outrageous price for medication knowing the average person who needs it can't afford it?

As caregivers, we don't want to be put in a position where we have decide to let our loved one die because we can't afford the meds.

There are literally thousands of baby boomers just like us who are caring for aging parents and are facing similar situations. Please let us hear from you

And as for those people who remain adamantly opposed to health care reform, may God save you from yourself.


Pat Montgomery said…
I have several points about this post. First, it is God-awful that medicine costs that much. And, Bev, some cancer treatment drugs cost that much for one pill. As someone who is getting older, it is frightening what stuff costs.

Second, I am big believer in reforming health care costs/payments. I just don't believe in the way this Congress has done it. With my experience with friends in Canada, your MIL would not have even been offered this drug at her age--it would have been saved for someone younger.

And with the new cuts in Medicare with this program, we wouldn't get it either. The government could be making a difference in other ways that will not bankrupt our country and lead to healthcare rationing. I know they say it won't do that, but look at other countries in which this has been tried--they have to ration due to the high costs.

Instead they could have allowed purchasing of healthcare across state lines, eliminating pre-exisitng conditions now instead of 5 yrs. from now, and tort reform. Tort reform is proven to reduce health care costs (TX) by reducing the practice of defensive medicine.

And I had an MD on my show yesterday who told me off air that he has several patients he treats for free because they have no money, are mentally disabled,and have been coming to him for a long time. Now with this bill, he can be fined $10,000 for treating these people for free--for each treatment. Is this what we want???
Not me.

Changes needed to be made, but there are better ways to do it.
Eileen Williams said…
Our medical establishment is in one huge mess! Lobbyists and huge corporations have ensured that we're paying astronomical fees for the most basic of medicine and services.

I don't know the answer but, it seems to me that something along the lines of Medicare for all (single payer system) would have solved a lot of problems. We are, after all, the last industrialized country in the world to offer basic healthcare to its citizens. Rather astounding, don't you think?!

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