Thousands of Medicare Cancer Patients Turned Away from Clinics

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medicare cuts killing people

This needs to be addressed immediately or seniors will literally die. Thousands of Medicare cancer patients are being turned away from clinics because of “sequester” cuts. Sequester was President Obama’s idea.

Far more serious than sequester cuts, is the more than $700 billion that has already been cut from future payments to Medicare to fund Obamacare, despite the fact that Medicare had not seen an increase in payments for a decade.

Republicans offered President Obama the power to handle where and how the cuts would be made but he refused – twice.

Sequester is a cut of little more than a penny-and-a-half on the dollar but this administration is making it as painful as possible with increased cuts to the already bankrupt Medicare system.

The way these cuts are administered is the problem. Seniors are usually covered by Medicare Part D and private insurance. but because a physician must administer the cancer drugs, they are among the drugs covered by Part B and effected by sequester.

It is not clear if hospitals can absorb the thousands of patients.

Oncologists can’t handle the reduced funding because of the cost of the chemotherapy drugs. They either turn them away or go out of business.

via WaPo

Cancer clinics across the country have begun turning away thousands of Medicare patients, blaming the sequester budget cuts.

Oncologists say the reduced funding, which took effect for Medicare on April 1, makes it impossible to administer expensive chemotherapy drugs while staying afloat financially.

Patients at these clinics would need to seek treatment elsewhere, such as at hospitals that might not have the capacity to accommodate them.

“If we treated the patients receiving the most expensive drugs, we’d be out of business in six months to a year,” said Jeff Vacirca, chief executive of North Shore Hematology Oncology Associates in New York. “The drugs we’re going to lose money on we’re not going to administer right now.”

After an emergency meeting Tuesday, Vacirca’s clinics decided that they would no longer see one-third of their 16,000 Medicare patients.

“A lot of us are in disbelief that this is happening,” he said. “It’s a choice between seeing these patients and staying in business.”

Some who have been pushing the federal government to spend less on health care say this is not the right approach.

“I don’t think there was an intention to disrupt care or move it into a more expensive setting,” said Cathy Schoen, senior vice president of the Commonwealth Fund, which recently released a plan for cutting $2 trillion in health spending. “If that’s the case, we’re being  penny-wise and a pound-foolish with these cuts.”

Legislators meant to partially shield Medicare from the automatic budget cuts triggered by the sequester, limiting the program to a 2 percent reduction — a fraction of the cuts seen by other federal programs.

But oncologists say the cut is unexpectedly damaging for cancer patients because of the way those treatments are covered.

Medications for seniors are usually covered under the optional Medicare Part D, which includes private insurance. But because cancer drugs must be administered by a physician, they are among a handful of pharmaceuticals paid for by Part B, which covers doctor visits and is subject to the sequester cut…Read on

Seniors have been the victims of cuts to make Obamacare look deficit neutral and now they are being used to make sequester look devastating so no one ever tries to cut the wild government spending again.

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