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Radiation Cancer Care Community Applauds Congress for Efforts to Stop Deep Medicare Cuts for Cancer Treatments

Bipartisan House, Senate Groups Send Letters to HHS Secretary Sebelius to Stop Drastic Cuts

WASHINGTON, Oct. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Triggered by drastic reimbursement cuts proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for cancer radiation services, over one-quarter (28) of the U.S. Senate and more than 100 bipartisan U.S. Representatives have signed letters sent to Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, expressing serious concern with the $300 million that would be slashed from freestanding radiation oncology practices nationwide.

The Senate letter, sponsored by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), urges the Secretary to reconsider these cuts. "We have heard from radiation oncologists in our states that such a cut could potentially limit cancer patients' access to radiation therapy, as some clinics would be forced to close, cut their staff, or put off purchasing equipment."

The House letter, sponsored by Congressman Joseph R. Pitts (R-PA) and Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ), urges CMS to reconsider its proposals, arguing that the data cited as a basis for these cuts are not auditable since they rely on patient fact sheets and Internet searches. "We believe that the materials cited are inappropriate for serving as the only basis for such dramatic reimbursement changes because they do not have the necessary sophistication to value complex medical procedures," the letter states.

The Radiation Therapy Alliance (RTA) congratulates this forward-looking group of lawmakers for stepping in to defend millions of cancer patients throughout the country who would suffer greatly as a result of these cuts because they would greatly reduce access to treatment, especially in rural areas.

"The real issue here is patient care, and how this massive funding reduction will impact cancer care and delivery to those fighting for their health, and in many cases, their lives," said Chris Rose, M.D., a radiation oncologist in Manhattan Beach, CA, and member of RTA. "Over the past three decades, the survival rate for many U.S. cancer patients has increased steadily, thanks to advances in and availability of groundbreaking treatments like radiation therapy. There's a better way – and better policy – for CMS to consider in order to improve the outlook and economic sustainability for the future of cancer care," Rose said.

The Radiation Therapy Alliance thanks the following Senators and Representatives for their support: Daniel Akaka (D-HI), John Boozman (R-AR), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Scott Brown (R-MA), Richard Burr (R-NC), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Thomas R. Carper (D-DE), Robert Casey (D-PA), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Dan Coats (R-IN), Christopher Coons (D-DE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Kay Hagan (D- NC), John Kerry (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Joe Lieberman (D-CT), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jason Altmire (D-PA), Joe Baca (D-CA), Michele Bachmann (R-MN), John Barrow (D-GA), Charlie Bass (R-NH.), Brian Bilbray (R-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Diane Black (R-TN), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), Robert Brady (D-PA), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Dan Burton (R-IN), Lois Capps (D-CA), John Carney (D-DE), Kathy Castor (D-FL), David Cicilline (D-RI), Hansen Clarke (D-MI), Howard Coble (R-NC), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Mark S. Critz (D-PA), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), John Dingell (D-MI), Barney Frank (D-MA), Elton Gallegly (R-CA), Jim Gerlach (R-PA), Phil Gingrey (R-GA), Charlie Gonzalez (D-TX), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Tim Griffin (R-AR), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Nan Hayworth (R-NY), Joe Heck (R-NV), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Steve Israel (D-NY), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Walter Jones (R-NC), Ron Kind (D-WI), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), James R. Langevin (D-RI), John Larson (D-CT), Tom Latham (R-IA), Bob Latta (R-OH), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Jim Matheson (D-UT), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), David McKinley (R-WV), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), John Mica (R-FL), Jeff Miller (R-FL), Tim Murphy (R-PA), Sue Myrick (R-NC), Rich Nugent (R-FL), Devin Nunes (R-CA), Alan Nunnelee (R-MS), Pete Olson (R-TX), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Joe Pitts (R-PA), Bill Posey (R-FL), Tom Price (R-GA), Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Reid Ribble (R-WI), Martha Roby (R-AL), Phil Roe (R-TN), Tom Rooney (R-FL), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Dennis Ross (R-FL), Mike Ross (D-AR), John Runyun (R-NJ), C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), Linda Sanchez (D-CA), Steve Scalise (R-LA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Bobby Schilling (R-IL), Aaron Schock (R-IL), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), Austin Scott (R-GA), Pete Sessions (R-TX), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Lee Terry (R-NE), Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Michael Turner (R-OH), Robert Turner (R-NY), Greg Walden (R-OR), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Daniel Webster (R-FL), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Bill Young (R-FL).

SOURCE Radiation Therapy Alliance