Sens. Stabenow, Burr circulate letter and secure signatures from eight colleagues
The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) applauds Senate Finance Committee members Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) for circulating a letter to their Senate colleagues expressing concern to the administration about significant proposed Medicare cuts to radiation oncology. Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Dan Coats (R-Ind.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have signed this letter. A growing chorus of voices on Capitol Hill agrees that proposed Medicare cuts could seriously impact patients’ access to life-saving cancer care by forcing many cancer centers to close, consolidate or reduce services.
"We commend Sens. Stabenow and Burr for leading a bipartisan effort to support cancer patients and the important role of radiation oncology in treating cancer," ASTRO CEO Laura Thevenot said.
On Wednesday, August 1, Reps. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), the respective chairman and ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee health subcommittee, began circulating a similar letter opposing these cuts. Already, six representatives have signed on to the House letter, including Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), who said: "As a cancer survivor myself, I understand how important it is for patients to have quick access to the newest, most advanced cancer treatments. CMS' proposed cuts to radiation therapy services would dramatically limit access to life-saving cancer treatments in Michigan and communities across the country. The end result would be cancer doctors and clinics being forced to delay patient treatments, lay off staff or close their doors entirely. This is an unacceptable outcome for seniors under Medicare, which is why I have called on CMS to reverse these devastating cuts."
The results of an ASTRO survey, released August 1, indicate that the Medicare cuts could have a severe and lasting impact on access to community cancer care for patients nationwide.
"ASTRO appreciates congressional leaders speaking out against these proposed cuts to radiation oncology in a strong, bipartisan manner. We are hopeful that the administration will listen closely and act to preserve access to high quality cancer care," Thevenot said.
For more information or detailed results of ASTRO’s survey, contact Michelle Kirkwood by email or at 703-286-1600.