Phillip Minton M.D.

The High Cost of Conventional Cancer Treatment

In cancer, non-hodgkins lymphoma on September 1, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Conventional medical care in America is shockingly expensive. If you have ever had the sad experience of being on the receiving end of hospital, laboratory, or medical office bills that are not covered by some government or private program, you know what I mean. How much do you think a chest x-ray would cost? Thousands are done daily, and it is an old technology. It shouldn’t cost that much, don’t you think? Would twenty dollars be fair? as a medical doctor I would think so, and as it turns out, so does Medicare. Medicare allows hospitals to charge them about $20 for a routine CXR. But is that what a normal cash paying patient is billed? No way. How about nearly 15 times that much…around $280?

A recent article in Time Magazine detailed the plight of a man newly diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, a very serious type of cancer. His medical insurance paid only up to $2,000 per day for hospital care. However it was nothing compared with the actual cost. Here are some of the charges he incurred:

 

one Rituximab injection $13,702
a two view CXR $283
one tylenol pill $1.50
a routine blood draw $36
series of lab tests $15,000

The famous “non-profit” hospital where he was treated demanded he pay them $48,900 for a few days of initial evaluation prior to any treatment. The first course of therapy cost him an additional $35,000. The total for him to get his first course of chemotherapy was $83,900.

Where does all this money go? The truth is that these ludicrous amount of money is charged to earn excess profit, even at this well-known “non-profit” hospital. The CEO of the hospital is paid nearly two million dollars a year (do you think any of the doctors earn that much?!) and the organization posts nearly half a billion dollars profit annually!

I strongly recommend everyone to take time and read this well researched report by Steven Brill on how absurdly high pricing and egregious profits are destroying American health care.

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  1. Great article Dr. Minton. I posted it on my FB page. Hope you are well. Heard the smog in Reno is pretty bad these past weeks.

    Wishing you all the best, Hanna

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