18-Jul-2009 Ramblings

What is life worth?

The New York Times this week took a very interesting tack in discussing this age-old question. My immediate thoughts went to my father, who is living with cancer, and is fortunate enough to have good health insurance. Recently my mother showed me four years’ worth of monthly itemized bills from the hospitals Dad’s been to in Boston. Each one comes with a $300 co-pay. The total “expense” to the insurer: over $2.4 million. Did all those treatments really cost that much? Who decides what this stuff costs? Do hospitals and insurers employ business analysts to set market pricing? Or does Big Pharma?