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Sequester Leads to Medicare Reductions

Last update on: Feb 02 2017

Suppose you or a loved one has cancer and needs chemotherapy. But this week you’re told by the doctor or hospital that’s been administering the drugs that they can’t do it any longer. You’ll have to look elsewhere for treatment.

That’s happening all over the country, according to The Washington Post. It’s all due to the mandatory 2% spending cuts in the federal spending sequester and their many unintended effects. It’s a complicated story about how the sequester results in a denial of treatment, but it appears to be real.

Doctors at the Charleston Cancer Center in South Carolina began informing patients weeks ago that, due to the sequester cuts, they would soon need to seek treatment elsewhere.

“We don’t sugar-coat things, we’re cancer doctors,” Charles Holladay, a doctor at the clinic, said. “We tell them that if we don’t go this course, it’s just a matter of time before we go out of business.”

Cancer patients turned away from local oncology clinics may seek care at hospitals, which also deliver chemotherapy treatments.

The care will likely be more expensive: One study from actuarial firm Milliman found that chemotherapy delivered in a hospital setting costs the federal government an average of $6,500 more annually than care delivered in a community clinic.



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