How Medicare’s Payment Cuts For Cancer Chemotherapy Drugs Changed Patterns Of Treatment

side note: A very interesting article on how reforms implemented at the Federal level can have real world consequences and why we should move slowly with the new healthcare bill. We have mixed feelings on the bill b/c we foresee both positive and negative impacts on doctors and their bottom lines. If doctors keep seeing Medicare patients, they will have a pool of roughly 30 million potential new clients……with the recently implemented Medicare cuts, we think that the ever important doctor-patient relationship will take a hit b/c physicians will need to see more patients on a daily basis to deal with the 21% cuts.

We didn’t like the fact that tough Tort Reform was not included in the final bill. We truly believe that even though on the surface, med mal insurance rates for doctors is a drop in the bucket as it relates to how much money our country spends on health care….we do think that the cost of malpractice insurance rates for doctors leads to the practice of defensive medicine. Which in turn leads to more money spent, and wasted, on healthcare related items.

We do not have crystal ball, so it’s difficult to see how this will play out….but we do have history to look back on, and we do know that there are always unforeseen issues that pop up that our politicians in DC never saw coming.

http://content.healthaffairs.org
by Mireille Jacobson, Craig C. Earle, Mary Price, and Joseph P. Newhouse

The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act, enacted in 2003, substantially reduced payment rates for chemotherapy drugs administered on an outpatient basis starting in January 2005. We assessed how these reductions affected the likelihood and setting of chemotherapy treatment for Medicare beneficiaries with newly diagnosed lung cancer, as well as the types of agents they received. Contrary to concerns about access, we found that the changes actually increased the likelihood that lung cancer patients received chemotherapy. The type of chemotherapy agents administered also changed.

Check out the rest of the article over at HealthAffairs.com

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