Cancer doctors worst hit by Medicare rate cut

Cancer patients, doctors and nurses are on Capitol Hill Wednesday to pressure lawmakers to quickly rescind the 21.3 percent Medicare physician payment rate cut that kicked in on June 1. Cancer is the number one killer of Americans under age 85, said the Community Oncology Alliance behind the lobbying effort, and oncology is the medical specialty hardest hit by the cut.

The group says that's because:

  • Oncology practices have millions of dollars in month-to-month drug outlays for chemotherapy drugs required to treat patients; 
  • Since 2004 there have been significant year-over-year Medicare cuts specific to oncology, which have placed many local practices in jeopardy; and
  • Half of all cancer patients are Medicare patients, so a significant amount of the oncology practice’s operating income is placed on hold during delays with resolving the payment fix.