“You may have heard that White House tours were cut due to across-the-board federal spending cuts known as the sequester. Or that Congress made sure to minimize disruptions to air travel. Or perhaps you know someone being furloughed as a result of the cuts.
But did you know a major fight is being waged over sequester cuts to some cancer drugs?
After Congress failed to pass a budget this spring, a 2 percent cut to Medicare chemotherapy drug reimbursements went into effect April 1 as part of the across-the-board federal spending cuts designed to save $85.4 billion this year.[Read sequester stories from Yahoo News readers here.]
Many doctors and patients are infuriated, and the issue has made its way into Congress, with a bill introduced in the House to help alleviate the burden being put on those in the cancer community.
Dr. John Cox, a community oncologist at Texas Oncology Methodist Cancer Centers in Dallas and a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), told Yahoo News that the idea of treating Medicare patients differently from other patients goes against everything for which doctors stand.
“It makes all of us uneasy when we realize we are treating different populations in our practice differently,” Cox said.
The pressure put on doctors is significant. Oncologists are typically reimbursed the average sales price for chemotherapy drugs plus 6 percent to cover the cost of storing and administering these drugs. Because purchasing those drugs costs the same as it did before the sequester, many cancer doctors, especially community oncologists who operate in smaller, nonhospital settings—are now unable to keep up with the costs associated with treating Medicare cancer patients who are typically elderly and on fixed incomes….”Comments »