Ashcroft introduces Cancer Care Preservation Act

November 1, 2000

Pharmaceutical Representative

Sen. John Ashcroft (R-MO) introduced new legislation that would make sure that cancer patients receive full access to drugs and cancer treatment services prescribed by physicians for the patients' recovery.

Sen. John Ashcroft (R-MO) introduced new legislation that would make sure that cancer patients receive full access to drugs and cancer treatment services prescribed by physicians for the patients' recovery.

"People who are fighting cancer are waging the toughest battle of their lives," said Ashcroft. "They should not be burdened further with the uncertainty of whether they will have access to life-saving medications. My new initiative will protect prescription drug benefits for cancer patients and will improve Medicare coverage of outpatient cancer treatment. This legislation will halt the administration's plan to cut Medicare services for cancer patients. We will not allow Washington bureaucrats to deny life-saving drugs and treatment to senior cancer patients and risk Americans' lives."

Ashcroft's Cancer Care Preservation Act will preserve funding for Medicare cancer treatment in physicians' offices and hospitals. The legislation prevents the administration from cutting Medicare reimbursements for outpatient cancer treatment. If the Health Care Financing Administration deems that changes in reimbursement rates are necessary, it must work with cancer patients, survivors, nurses and physicians to develop the changes; make certain that Medicare reimbursements for outpatient cancer care will cover all costs of providing services; and receive Congressional approval.

In August, Ashcroft sent a letter to senators urging them to support the Cancer Care Preservation Act. "Medicare beneficiaries with cancer must be confident that they will continue to receive the care they need, in the setting they choose, without risk of arbitrary and unexpected reductions in reimbursement that may force their doctors to cease offering treatment or refer them to a different facility for treatment," Ashcroft wrote. "I urge you to join with me in ensuring that our seniors receive full access to the life-saving therapies they need in the setting they choose." PR

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