Cancer Treatment Is Beyond The Reach of Many Americans

Cancer Treatment Is Beyond The Reach of Many Americans

Cancer is expensive — the American Cancer Society estimates that the 2010 total cost of cancer in the U.S. soared to $263.8 billion (The Huffington Post Oct 12, 2011). Along with these costs can come financial ruin.

A Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center study showed that cancer patients were twice as likely as the general population to go bankrupt a year after their cancer diagnosis, with many people going bankrupt two and a half years after they were diagnosed with cancer.

“Patients diagnosed with cancer may face significant financial stress due to income loss and out-of-pocket costs associated with their treatment,” study researcher Dr. Scott Ramsey, a health-care economist at the cancer research center, said in a statement. He added that on average, the rate of bankruptcy went up four times within five years after being diagnosed with cancer.

Ramsey and his colleagues used data from 232,000 people with cancer between 1995 and 2009, and found that 1.9 percent of those people declared bankruptcy, compared with 0.28 percent of the general population.

Researchers found that age affected bankruptcy risk, with people overage 65 (and usually on Medicare) being less likely to go bankrupt than younger people.

Another study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality estimated that between 2001 and 2008, 13.4 percent of adults younger than 65 who had cancer spent more than 20 percent of their income on health care, including premiums. That compared with 9.7 percent of people with other chronic conditions and just 4.4 percent of those with no chronic conditions.

Life saving treatments shouldn’t lead to financial ruin. You have enough to worry about. Personally, I do not understand, outside of the greed to make as much money as possible, why it’s so expensive? Taxpayer dollars fund many of the discoveries that led to these treatments and 10% of the NIH budget (taxpayer $$) goes to fund clinical trials to test the therapies. We’re paying for something we already paid for!

This is what happens with a profit-driven healthcare system. This is one big reason we need Medicare for all!

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