ASCO warns that the automatic budget cuts detailed in the sequestration report released today by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will negatively impact millions of individuals who have cancer.
“Cancer patients face a triple threat from the specter of these budget reductions,” said ASCO President Sandra M. Swain. “Not only will life-extending cancer research sustain a devastating hit, but providers of cancer care who are already struggling will be faced with significant cuts that will impede access to care. Sequestration will also hinder the federal review and oversight of new oncology treatments.”
The OMB report http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/legislative_reports/stareport.pdf indicates that sequestration will reduce the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration budgets by 8.2 percent (about $2.5 billion and $318 million, respectively) and Medicare payments to physicians by two percent (more than $11 billion) beginning in January 2013.
ASCO cautions that cuts to cancer research, oncology practices, and the drug review process will have a harmful impact on the 1.6 million individuals newly diagnosed with cancer each year, the 12 million Americans living with cancer, and the many millions more who will receive a cancer diagnosis over the next decade.
ASCO urges Congress to avoid slowing the tremendous progress that has occurred in cancer research and treatment. “We understand this is a difficult budget environment, but we can’t afford to lose ground to a disease that touches nearly every American,” said Swain. “Congress must act to ensure federal dollars for cancer care, research, and the drug review process. Lives depend on it.”