Friday, August 28, 2009

Kennedy's cancer treatment

". . . when Kennedy was diagnosed with brain cancer last year, he became one of the millions whose fate was not much changed by the cancer war. Despite billions that have been spent, the death rate from most cancers barely budged. Kennedy's cancer, a glioblastoma, kills almost everyone who gets it, usually in about a year. Although he got the most aggressive treatment, Kennedy lived just 15 months after his diagnosis -- about the median survival for patients with his type of tumor who get the radiation and chemotherapy regimen that has become the standard of care. . . The cost is high. Estimates from experts vary from $100,000 to $500,000. "If you have the insurance to come to Duke, no problem," said Dr. Henry Friedman, co-director of the university's brain tumor center. But if patients are uninsured or underinsured, the situation is different. Then, he said, "we will work with their home physician to give them our expertise."

Kennedy had the best available private insurance as a senator, had Medicare, and was a millionaire. Money was no issue.

Of course, under Obamacare, the commitment to cost saving by curtailing wasteful unnecessary procedures in hopeless cases would preclude this course of treatment for someone of Kennedy's age with Kennedy's disease but without Kennedy's money.

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