Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Congress bends the health care cost curve. 

The New York Times tells us...
Although the government regularly pays $100,000 or more for kidney transplants, it stops paying for anti-rejection drugs after only 36 months...
Then it gets to pay for another transplant!
... 15 months ago, Medicare paid for a second transplant -— total charges, $125,000 —- and the 36-month clock began ticking again. “If they had just paid for the pills, I’d still have my [first] kidney,” said Ms. Whitaker...

Bills have been introduced in Congress since 2000 to lift the 36-month limit and extend coverage of immunosuppressant drugs indefinitely.

They have never made it to a vote, largely because of the projected upfront cost; the Congressional Budget Office estimates that unlimited coverage would add $100 million a year to the $23 billion Medicare kidney program.
Consider the cost curve bent.