Wishing Perry a speedy recovery
Thu August 4, 2011 11:39 am

I hope Governor Perry’s experimental adult stem cell treatment is successful. I admire his courage in opting for the treatment. And I congratulate Emily Ramshaw and the Tribune for getting this story.

But I do have a couple of questions. Ramshaw’s story yesterday included this statement by the governor’s spokesman:

As for the high cost of such stem cell injections, [Mark] Miner said that whatever health insurance didn’t pay for, “Perry did.”

Whoa! Miner implies here that health insurance paid for at least a portion of the bill. I don’t believe it. What health insurance company is going to cover the cost of a treatment that is not approved by the FDA and has no demonstrable clinical benefit–at a time when the entire industry is trying to rachet down costs?

A health care lobbyist I spoke with estimated the cost of the treatment at between $10,000 and $50,000. That is a lot of money for a state employee to have to shell out. I would not be surprised–we may never know–if the doctor waived his fee. The publicity for treating a famous patient has to be worth a hefty figure.

If what Miner said is literally true, that Perry paid for some of the treatment  out of his own pocket, I feel for the guy. That’s real money.

Politics aside, I hope Governor Perry enjoys a successful recovery.

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I should have mentioned that candidates for president are expected to release their medical records.

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