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Cuts threaten cancer care

Published: Friday, May 3, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

Sequestration cuts are a blunt ax to cancer care that will have a devastating effect on patients.

In some areas, particularly rural communities, practices will simply be driven out of business, ending patient access to treatment. Others will be forced to send patients to hospitals for chemotherapy – if the hospital will treat them – or simply merge into the hospital, resulting in higher costs for both patients and Medicare.

This is the exact opposite of the intent of health-care reform. When community cancer clinics are forced to close their doors, access to cancer care is compromised for cancer patients, especially vulnerable seniors covered by Medicare.

It is simply irrational to let these cuts decimate cancer care. The negative impact of Medicare cancer cuts to date has been well-documented – the sequestration cuts now push community cancer care off the cliff. Because of these cuts, options such as curtailing services, refusing new patients, closing practices, and selling to a hospital are now under consideration in many practices – including mine.

I want to continue to care for my patients and am proud to be part of the best cancer care system in the world. When sequestration threatens my ability to provide that care, it threatens the lives of my patients as much as the cancer they are fighting.

Dr. Michael B. Soble

Crystal Lake

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