Fort McMurray man facing $500,000+ bill for US cancer therapy

What should Medicare pay for and not pay for?

There is an urgency to this question because publicly funded health care now consumes about 45% of provincial government budgets and, if costs continue to escalate as they have in the past, by 2015 Medicare will be devouring 70% of all non-capital spending by provincial governments.

A Fort McMurray man is facing hospital and medical bills of more than half-a-million dollars for a treatment that is only available in the United States, but which Alberta Health will not pay for because it is “still experimental” and “not approved by Health Canada.”

According to a story in Fort McMurray Bo Cooper, who has acute lymphoblastic leukemia, will most likely die if he doesn’t receive the experimental treatment. Each dose of CAR T-cell immunotherapy costs up to $60,000. Results from smaller studies look promising, but the U.S. National Cancer Institute cautions the therapy is in the early stages of development.





Canada’s government-run health care system – Medicare -- is a monopoly that prohibits private hospital and private physician care. Medicare is a subpar performer, ranking 10th among 11 advanced countries. Canadians deserve much better! Patients deserve timely access to quality care and choice of hospitals and physicians. Taxpayers deserve much more value for their tax dollars.

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