Cancer and the cost of beating it. Health care payers attack the cost at the source.
For those of us who believe in markets and how markets can control costs, unfortunately, the same cannot be said of healthcare costs which are styfling economic growth in our country. For years, the systems that treat cancer have dictated prices, drug companies have charged exhorbitant amounts for drugs that may extend life for just a month have become part of the problem and in the end, are we as consumers really getting what they paid for with our current system of cancer care.
Check out this interesting article that looks at how the systems are going to battle to control the cost of cancer, which is about 12% of all healthcare expenditures.
Curbing Overpriced Treatments for Cancer Care
Top health care experts meeting at the Institute of Medicine this week delivered a stern message to the nation’s 15,000 oncologists and their patients: Either learn to deliver care at lower costs or watch the government and insurance companies impose limits.
“If you think this is a tough reimbursement environment, just wait a year or two,” said Mark McClellan, who headed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the George W. Bush administration. “Leadership is needed to show how to get to better care on a more sustainable fiscal path.”
The sentiment was echoed by Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist and top adviser to the Obama administration during the battle to enact the Affordable Care Act, which imposed a first round of payment restrictions on Medicare providers. “We can never get too much cost control,” he said. “There’s $700 to $800 billion of waste in the health care system. We have a long way to go.”
Oncology has become a focal point in the health care cost control debate because its claims are rising faster than other specialties. New drugs coming on the market, many of which only extend life for a month or two, now cost $100,000 a year or more. They have become a major driver of rising cancer care costs, especially when used in terminally-ill patients nearing the end of life.