President Obama and the price of surgery

During a recent “townhall” meeting in New Hampshire, President Obama stated, “If a diabetic gets their leg amputated – that’s $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 immediately to the surgeon….” (link)

Fact-check: Medicare reimburses a surgeon between $740 and $1140 for a leg amputation surgery. This fee includes the pre-operative evaluation, the surgery, and 90 days of post-operative care.

In reality, an amputation is the last thing any surgeon wants to do. But sometimes, there’s just no other good option. Whenever possible, all surgeons (and patients too, I’m sure) would prefer to try to save the leg first.

It may be that the President was referring to the overall costs of a diabetic patient’s hospital stay, including all the charges that go to the hospital. But, either way – don’t blame the surgeon for the expense of the entire system.

Gosh – that would be like blaming the incumbent President for everything that’s wrong with Washington!

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