Congresswoman Renee Ellmers released the following statement this afternoon from her office in Washington:
"I'm proud to announce today the introduction of my first bill for the 113th Congress. H.R. 1416 - The Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2013 addresses a serious problem facing millions of patients who rely on Medicare to provide for their health care. As an unintended consequence of sequestration, millions of Americans are facing delayed care for life-saving treatments. As of April 1st, these cuts began being implemented. By dropping this bill today, we are ensuring that everything can be done to prevent these cuts from going into effect."
Beginning April 1, 2013, Medicare applied the sequestration by cutting all payments for cancer care services and drugs by 2 percent. Due to the cuts originating in sequestration, Medicare funding for physician-administered drugs is being cut to health care centers and forcing them to divert care to other centers and hospitals. This is causing a delay in treatment and increasing costs to both Medicare and the patients it covers. With these delays, life-saving treatments are being prolonged, potentially harming the survival and success rates of people suffering from cancer and other diseases.
Last week, The Washington Post reported on these cuts to cancer treatment reimbursements:
"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."