DelBene Fights to Protect PNW Cancer Patients from GOP Medicare Cuts
WATCH: ‘These cuts and the precedent they would set restrict access to cancer treatment for thousands of patients in my home state and millions of patients around the country.’
Today, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) pushed to protect cancer patients from Republicans’ efforts to cut Medicare payments to leading cancer centers around the country. DelBene offered an amendment during a Ways & Means committee markup that would exempt dedicated cancer centers, which treat patients with some of the most serious cancer diagnoses and perform cutting-edge research into new cancer treatments, from Republicans’ cuts.
There are 11 dedicated cancer centers in the U.S., including Fred Hutch Cancer Center in Washington, which serves as the only dedicated cancer center in the entire Pacific Northwest. Fred Hutch serves 50,000 patients every year, including over 8,000 at the Overlake Cancer Center and EvergreenHealth clinics in Washington’s 1st Congressional District.
DelBene’s amendment was rejected by Republicans 25-15.
The video can be found here and the transcript is below.
Mr. Chairman, my amendment would protect our nation’s most critical, leading-edge, and relied-upon cancer hospitals from the Medicare reimbursement cuts that Republicans are proposing in this package.
These cuts and the precedent they would set restrict access to cancer treatment for thousands of patients in my home state and millions of patients around the country.
For decades, Congress has recognized the unique and essential role of cancer hospitals in treating patients following a cancer diagnosis and providing hope for families, which is in part why they have a different payment system in Medicare.
These 11 dedicated cancer hospitals across the country are singularly focused on treating cancer patients, including rare, complex, and advanced-stage cancers, and serve over 1 million patients annually.
They also lead thousands of clinical trials and operate at the forefront of technology and new therapies.
The Fred Hutch Cancer Center in my home state of Washington is one of the world’s leading cancer and biomedical research centers and is the only dedicated cancer center not only in Washington state but across the entire Pacific Northwest.
Fred Hutch serves roughly 50,000 patients every year, including over 8,000 patients at the Overlake Cancer Center and EvergreenHealth community clinics in my district.
Most of Fred Hutch’s services are performed in an outpatient hospital setting, including some of the most complex treatments, such as bone marrow transplantation and CAR-T immunotherapy.
Ten other dedicated cancer centers across the country would be harmed by these cuts, such as the Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas, and other life-saving cancer centers in Ohio, California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and elsewhere.
In the past, this committee has come together on a bipartisan basis to exempt cancer hospitals from broad-based Medicare payment changes.
This situation should be no different. We should maintain this important precedent.
I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense amendment to protect cancer care and research and improve the underlying bill.