Sequester squeezes oncology practices and their Medicare patients

Headlines about the sequester budget cuts over the last week have focused on airline delays and Federal Aviation Administration furloughs, but the impact of the cuts could be taking a much graver toll on Medicare patients with cancer.

Clinics across the U.S. have had to turn away some Medicare patients as reduced funding is making it impossible to administer chemotherapy drugs, according to a Washington Post report.

The chief executive of one oncology group quoted in the article revealed his practice will have to turn away one-third of the Medicare patients, saying, “It’s a choice between seeing these patients and staying in business.”

Patients can seek care at a hospital, but clinic care is less expensive than hospital care, which means more costs to the federal government and out-of-pocket costs for patients, explained the Washington Post.

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