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Protecting Patient Access to Cancer Care


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This week I joined a bipartisan group of nearly 100 of my colleagues in the House of Representatives to send a letter to the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius protesting Medicare's proposed cuts to radiation therapy for oncology patients. Many cancer patients are already fighting for their lives, they should not have to fight for access to high-quality treatment as well.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposal would cut radiation oncology payments by a total of 15 percent and 19 percent for community-based cancer centers. This is unacceptable.

A July survey from American Society for Radiation Oncology members concluded that cuts of this magnitude could have devastating effects on cancer centers in Kansas and nationwide, with freestanding and community-based centers being hit the hardest. Medicare cuts could force many centers to close, consolidate or reduce services to cancer patients.

Cuts of this size would have tragic consequences for cancer patients and their families, and they deserve better.

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