The healthcare system costs a lot of money. We can hate the managed care companies as much as we want but they do control costs. The problem is that they pocket those savings. There cannot, however, be an open checkbook in any new health care plan. As much as people believe otherwise, there is no pot of money that exists in a separate dimension in which we can endlessly dip into. Here is a nice example about the use of Cetuximab or Erbitux for the treatment of non-small cell cancer from the people at quackwatch.org and the National Council Against Health Fraud.
Two NIH scientists have urged cancer specialists, researchers, regulators, drug companies, insurance companies and the public look more closely and set limits on the use and pricing of anticancer drugs. The scientists noted that 90% of the anticancer drugs and biologics approved by the FDA during the past four years cost more than $20,000 for a 12-week regimen, but many offer an additional survival benefit of only 2 months or less. Cetuximab treatment of non-small cell lung cancer costs about $80,000 to prolong the patient's life for a median of 1.2 months. The researchers note that many studies that do produce a small survival benefit do not take into account the patient's quality of life. To illustrate the absurdity of this cost, they also extrapolate that if all 550,000 people who die of cancer each year could be kept alive for a year at equivalent cost, the total would be $440 billion without any of them being cured. [Fojo T, Grady C. How much is life worth: Cetuximab, non-small cell lung cancer, and the $440 billion question. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 101:1044-1048, 2009]
Makes you think, doesn't it?