Sen. John McCain has survived things few men have, and the surgery he had on Friday to remove a blood clot was first reported as being a run-of-the-mill sort of thing for the 80-year-old lawmaker from Arizona. McCain’s surgery was mainly news for its effect on the GOP healthcare bill, which majority leader Mitch McConnell has delayed voting on until McCain returns to his Senate seat.
Subsequent reports, however, say that the “minimally invasive craniotomy” with an eyebrow incision (as McCain’s site described it) is possibly more serious than first reported. A craniotomy, of course, is an opening of the skull. A blood clot in the frontal lobes, where McCain’s evidently was, could be cause for major, not minor, concern. And not just health concerns — for the average citizen a craniotomy would also cause serious financial concerns. It’s worth noting, as McCain’s condition delays the healthcare bill, that a craniotomy at Johns Hopkins Hospital costs $45,077.75. That’s a lot of money. But McCain was treated at the Mayo Clinic. Using the Mayo Clinic-provided online cost estimator, a craniotomy like McCain’s would cost an uninsured patient at the Mayo Clinic an average price of $110,979 — with an estimated range of between $95,877 and $169,468.