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The Community Oncology Alliance Responds to President Obama's Press Conference Comments Regarding Cancer Patients
Date:7/23/2009

WASHINGTON, July 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The Community Oncology Alliance (COA), a national non-profit organization of oncologists that advocates for cancer patients and community providers of cancer care, has responded in a public statement to President Obama's press conference, saying:

"We strongly support President Obama's guiding principle that health care reform must 'build on what works and fix what is broken.' Unfortunately, that is the exact opposite of what is happening with our country's cancer care delivery system. The problem is that the Medicare payment system for cancer care is simply broken. The system has chipped away for years and our cancer care delivery system is now in crisis. Though it urgently needs to be fixed, we pray that reform is not forced through to meet a schedule, but thought through to meet the needs of covering costs to save the lives of cancer patients.

"In last night's press conference, President Obama mentioned the plight of cancer patients. As the doctors who treat 84% of cancer patients in their own communities, we feel compelled to respond with the hope that even greater focus will be put on cancer as 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women can expect to get cancer in their lifetimes.

"As of right now, 45% of all cancer patients are covered by Medicare and yet Medicare does not reimburse oncologists for the full cost of many drugs to treat patients, and does not reimburse at all for essential services including cancer treatment planning and care coordination. In a recent national survey we commissioned of over 1,000 Americans, we learned that less than half (45%) of Americans believe their health insurance plans would cover the full cost of cancer treatment, including diagnosis, doctor visits, tests and medication, and only 25% of Americans believe that a person covered under Medicare would be covered, while 64% believe Medicare would not cover
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SOURCE The Community Oncology Alliance
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