Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cutting healthcare costs

My antenna go up when I hear this phrase. It reminds me of the 'NICE' organization in the UK. This is the group that 'evaluates' drugs to see if they are 'cost effective'. Obviously, when health care is just another budget item, competing with schools, defense, and welfare expenditures, there is great pressure to hold down costs.

The track record of NICE when it comes to cancer drugs is poor. UK residents just don't have the panoply of therapies available in other countries, including the United States.

Everyone is in favor of cost-effectiveness, right? Well, if you are, remember that CLL patients are a very small lobbying group, and drugs such as Rituxan and Campath are very expensive.

If you are concerned about the treatments you will be getting in the future, pay very close attention to the details. It's one thing to say you are going to cut health care costs; it's another when the savings comes from denying care to you.

I'm reserving judgment until more is known about the president's plan. I will be seeing if health care will be changed for the worse.

(In my opinion, the best thing would be to increase spending and make a serious move to start curing cancers. Imagine how much more money cancer patients would be saving the health care system, and paying into the entire economy, if they could be free from the illness and pain of cancer!)

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