Medicare Costs for Cancer Treatment Soar
Costs for treating Medicare patients with cancer increased substantially from 1991 to 2002, researchers report.
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Since: Dec 05
#1 Jun 11, 2008
The shift in the United States, more than 20 years ago, from the institution-based, inpatient setting to community-based, ambulatory sites for treating the majority of the nation's cancer patients has prompted in large part additional costs to the government and Medicare beneficiaries.
More and more emerging data is showing that there is a continuing problem with the Chemotherapy Concession. A system which rewards medical oncologists for being pharmacists. The Chemotherapy Concession gave oncologists the financial incentive to select certain forms of chemotherapy over others because they receive higher reimbursement.
Cancer sufferers are taking doses of expensive and toxic treatments that are possibly well in excess of what they need. Pharmaceutical companies are attracted to studies that look at the maximum tolerated dose of any treatments. Evidence has shown that many of the highly expensive targeted cancer drugs may be just as effective and produce fewer side effects if taken over shorter periods and in lower doses.
Although the new Medicare bill tried to curtail the Chemotherapy Concession, private insurers still go along with it. What needs to be done is to remove the profit incentive from the choice of drug treatments. Medical oncologists should be taken out of the retail pharmacy business and force them be doctors again.
#2 Sep 23, 2013
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