Senate Democrats

Putting Seniors At Risk, Republican Budget Will Force More Than 7 Million Seniors To Pay More For Cancer Prevention And Treatment Starting Next Year

The Republican budget reflects upside-down priorities – it protects tax breaks for those at the top, but forces seniors to pay more for cancer prevention and treatment starting next year, including cancer medications and screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies.  Since passing their reckless budget, Republicans nationwide have continued to make the false claim that their plan protects today’s seniors, but experts agree that the Republican plan “would begin affecting millions of seniors almost immediately.” In fact, the Republican budget will force more than 7 million seniors to pay more for cancer screenings and prevention programs, while requiring senior cancer patients to pay millions more for lifesaving cancer drugs immediately.

Democrats Are Committed to Improving Access to Cancer Prevention and Treatment Services for Seniors.

The Affordable Care Act provides seniors with new cancer prevention and treatment tools, including free screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies.  In 2008, 43% of female Medicare beneficiaries did not receive a mammogram.  Studies suggest that 3,700 lives could be saved if 90% of women 40 and older receive a mammogram.  The Affordable Care Act eliminated cost sharing requirements for mammograms and other prevention tools, dramatically improving access to important lifesaving services.  [HHS, 3/16/11; HHS, 7/14/10]

Under the Republican Budget, More Than 7 Million Seniors Will Be Required to Pay More for Cancer Prevention Starting Next Year. The Republican budget will require seniors to pay a 20% co-insurance for many cancer prevention services, including screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies.  By forcing seniors to pay the 20% co-insurance, the Republican budget could result in beneficiaries paying an additional $160 out-of-pocket. These increased costs could force thousands of seniors to forego mammograms and colonoscopies, thus possibly putting their lives at greater risk.  [HHS, 3/16/11]

Despite Republican claims that their budget will not impact current seniors, the GOP budget will increase costs for cancer prevention immediately and require:

  • More than 7,800,000 senior women pay a 20% co-insurance for breast cancer screening
  • More than 2,000,000 senior women pay a 20% co-insurance for cervical cancer screening (pap test)
  • More than 1,200,000 senior women pay a 20% co-insurance for cervical cancer screening (pelvic examination)

Cancer Patients Have Already Saved More Than $32 Million on Their Medication This Year, But The Republican Budget Eliminates Those Discounts, Making Lifesaving Drugs Unaffordable for Many Seniors. By re-opening the donut hole, the Republican budget will force seniors with cancer to pay millions more for their life-saving medications. By providing significant discounts on prescription drugs to seniors in the donut hole, Medicare saved seniors with cancer $32 million for cancer drugs in the first part of this year alone.  In fact, nearly 20% of the discounts to date have been for cancer medication. The House budget would eliminate these savings moving forward. According to a recent report, 16 percent of Medicare patients did not fill their cancer drug prescriptions due to the high costs. The Republican budget imposes new costs on seniors with cancer starting in 2012, thereby risking the health of our most vulnerable senior population. [HHS, 5/24/11; Journal of Clinical Oncology, 5/11]

Click here for state-specific data on how the Republican budget will force seniors in your state to pay more for life-saving preventive health services in 2012.

 

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