(Trying to avoid political implications and not taking sides on that, for that is not helpful here, but objectively what we face as patients):
According to ASCO president (leading oncologists society group)- cancer care in general is currently going up at 15% per year. (we have inflation, we have people losing insurance or coverages, or higher deductibles...no matter how you measure it...it becomes A Brave New World that we have to face) Anyone herein making 15% more each year? If so you are in the 1% group.
Harvard School Health survey: 22% of cancer patients with insurance (even) used up most or all of their earnings on their cancers and another 5% decided to forgo some care (office visitations-less often, proceedures, testings, drug or drug choices etc.)
Usually doctors do not announce their general costs to a patient for whatever proceedure, and it is said alot of them would like to avoid that discussion, maybe cause it is a total shock and awe in the patients mindset. My other brothers wife is diagnosed with myleoma (muliple version) and he does not have insurance (out of work for a few years, was a CEO guy), does have money to consider paying for expensive treatments. Mosts doctors do not return his phone calls (no insurance....kind of death sentence from seeing alot of docs), they did not ask can you some how pay for such (kind of an important question...I guess they assume they would get burned on the $$$ end of such). She supposedly needed a drug pill that cost something around $100-200 per day (I thought he said to me), luckily because of his non-status income the State made that happen for either free or close to it. (one good thing) They are a few months into this and still docs and hospital not really wanting to get envolved, one hospital said they had to take up with the 'commitee' and see what that outcome is. I mentioned to my brother that if like nobody here wishes to get envolved, then consider going abroad where tests, drugs etc. are considerably cheaper...it is an option to look at.
In our current 'limbo' land of unknowns: insurance coverages, availability, social and economic turmoil (very real and likely to become totally unreal to us), don't know if we will get socialized medicine (sounds great in theory for the $$$ aspect) and if so how does that end up for people with serious things like cancers....do you take a number and get in line and wait for 'the doc'.
So if there is an in between time on this health care reform that may happen, people might want to consider their options: postpone something if you reasonably could (like w.w. people), rush faster to get your treatment done now while it is covered, perhaps stock up on your drugs if that is even possible..have them available to you, stock up on things you may need.
People may have to consider their options (if found w/o insurance): cheaper drugs or generics (Canada off label casodex under $150/mo.), maybe less known or less mainstream drugs or protocols(e.g.: estrogen patches, emcyt, des) and other stuff, maybe even look at all possibilities even with herbs, foods, natural products (may be helpful, might help slow progression....I doubt any have been proven to cure PCa or likely other cancer types).
Other options for us: no treatment (forced watchful waiting), less treatments, going abroad for such and the costs are hugely less. Combidex scanning-Holland ($2500), scans and MRIs in places like Thailand (I heard around $600-800 ct or bone scan)..you would have to research. Americans are going outside the country more than is mentioned in the newspapers, cause costs are astronomical and if you are paying out of your life savings it might be a choice for you. Doctors in India are said to be a real choice as they generally speak English well enough and the costs are probably 50-70% less than here. (alot docs from India are practicing here in the US).
Dx-2002 Urinary blockage/totally, bpsa=46.6, 12/12-biop. all 80-95% cancer, Gleasons found 7,8,9's (in both sets), ADT3+rad-neutron/photon+ADT3..(2yrs)..quit-Des started...(1.5 yrs.) quit..(2 yrs. no drugs), resumed Des Nov. '08, psa .36 (now)..feel darn good.