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Witnesses: Ellmers' Bill Will Stop the Hemorrhaging Cancer Centers across the Country are Suffering Due to Sequester Cuts

Click Here to watch video of the hearing

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-NC-02) released the following statement after Friday's hearing on her bill H.R. 1416 - The Cancer Patients Protection Act of 2013:

"Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held an important hearing on the impact of sequester cuts to cancer clinics throughout the nation. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have improperly applied the sequester cuts, resulting in unnecessary harm to cancer patients. My bill addresses these problems by clarifying that CMS should not be applying the sequester cuts to the underlying cost of Part B drugs, including chemotherapy, which are critical treatments for cancer patients. My bill stops Medicare patients from being forced out of their local community clinics to the more expensive hospital setting."

"Friday's hearing was an important step in moving my legislation closer to a vote on the House floor.  I would like to thank Chairman Fred Upton and Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts for holding this important hearing and remain confident that this bill will see action in the House soon."

Testifying for the National Patient Advocate Foundation, CEO and President Nancy Davenport-Ennis reported:

"[Ellmers' bill] will at least stop some of the hemorrhaging that is happening now… [and will] take a significant step forward in resolving this."

On Friday, Congresswoman Renee Ellmers joined Members of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health to hear testimony on her bill H.R. 1416 - The Cancer Patients Protection Act of 2013. Her bipartisan bill currently has the support of over 90 Members of Congress including 23 Democrats. Witnesses at Friday's hearing included Cliff Binder - Health Care Financing Analyst, Congressional Research Service, James Cosgrove - Director, Government Accountability Office, Nancy Davenport-Ennis - CEO and President, National Patient Advocate Foundation, and Barry Brooks, M.D. - Partner, Texas Oncology (On behalf of the US Oncology Network)

The whole point of sequestration is to reduce spending. However, treating people in hospitals is more expensive than providing the same service in the physicians' offices.  In fact, studies show that providing chemotherapy costs Medicare, and taxpayers, $6,500 more per patient in the hospital setting and costs patients $650 more to receive treatment in the hospital. Given that the application of sequester by CMS is actually costing tax-payer money, instead of saving it, Congress should be doing everything in its power to provide incentives to keep cancer patients in community cancer centers. 

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For more information, please visit Congresswoman Ellmers’ website at www.ellmers.house.gov or call (202) 225-4531.

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