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Bipartisan Group of 124 Lawmakers Express Concern That Medicare Cuts to Life-Sustaining Cancer Drugs Threatening Patient Care
Date:4/23/2013

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Community Oncology Alliance (COA), ION Solutions and The US Oncology Network today commended a bipartisan group of 124 lawmakers in the U.S House of Representatives who sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expressing concern that Medicare cuts to critical cancer medications, which took effect on April 1 as part of the budget sequester, are forcing oncologists to turn away cancer patients. 

The letter, led by Representatives Pete Sessions (R-TX), Gene Green (D-TX), Mike Burgess (R-TX), Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Ron Kind (D-WI), asks CMS to use its authority to apply the two percent sequester cut to only the service payment and not to the cost of chemotherapy drugs and biologic treatments.  Specifically, the letter states:

"Our concerns are two fold.  First, it is unclear to us if the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has the statutory authority to reduce Medicare Part B drug reimbursement since that amount is specified in the [Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA)].  Second, concerning sequestration, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued guidance instructing federal agencies and departments to, '[u]se any available flexibility to reduce operational risks that minimize impacts on the agency's core mission in service of the American people'….We would like to see CMS use any flexibility that exists to implement the cuts in such a way that the core mission of the agency – to provide care to beneficiaries – is retained and protected."

The lawmakers cite recent news reports that Medicare beneficiaries seeking cance
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SOURCE Community Oncology Alliance
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