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posted: 8/28/2012 4:40 AM

Docs, patients hurt by Medicare cuts

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I treat cancer patients daily at American Cancer Center. As a radiation oncologist, I am deeply troubled by the proposed Medicare cuts that could take effect on Jan. 1, 2013. These payment cuts would drastically reduce the amount Medicare pays for certain cancer treatments by up to 40 percent. My patients depend on these vital treatments, and these cuts would be devastating to my practice and my patients.

As our population ages, the number of people relying on Medicare is rapidly growing. Radiation therapy helps patients fight cancer every day. The proposed cuts to reimbursement for cancer care jeopardize our progress in battling cancer. Policymakers must realize how cuts of this magnitude ultimately hurt patients and affect the care that I can provide. If these cuts go through, I will likely have to stop accepting new Medicare patients; close one of my practice locations; lay off respected members of my staff; or close my practice.

A doctor and patient should be able to choose among all possible options for lifesaving cancer treatments and should not have to worry about Medicare cuts limiting those choices. This is not what cancer patients in Elgin and Algonquin, or any other community across the country, deserve.

Our members of Congress can help stop these Medicare cuts to radiation therapy. We need our voices heard to protect access to community cancer care.

Bharat Jailwala


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