Sequester Closes Cancer Clinic Doors, Congress Does Nothing

Affluent business flyers inconvenienced by delays = national emergency that Congress immediately fixes. Cancer clinics closing = Congress does squat, goes home. This is just one more story of our corrupt times.

Last week the sequester cuts kicked in at airports and caused affluent business fliers to experience some delays, so Congress acted immediately to fix it. The same sequester has been forcing cancer clinics to send away patients so they can’t receive the chemotherapy that they hope will keep them alive. Is Congress rushing to the rescue like they did for affluent business travelers who faced some flight delays? Not so much. They do have their priorities, after all.

Sequester Causes Cancer Clinic Cuts And Closings

NBC: Sequester cuts hitting cancer patients, (click through for video)

Oncologists claim reduced Medicare funding, which took effect on April 1, makes it impossible to administer expensive chemotherapy drugs while staying afloat financially.

NewsOn6: Oklahoma Cancer Patients Worry About Cuts To Medicare Caused By Sequester.

Albequerque BusinessFirst: Gov’t cuts might force NM Cancer Center to stop treating some Medicare patients,

The Albuquerque-based New Mexico Cancer Center might have to stop treating up to 300 Medicare patients because of cuts to Medicare brought on by the federal sequestration budget cuts, the Cancer Center’s CEO said Thursday.

HuffPo: Sequestration Forces Cancer Clinic Patients To Travel Thousands Of Miles For Treatment.

ThinkProgress: Cancer Clinics: Congress Should Have Restored Our Sequester Cuts Before Addressing Airport Delays,

After automatic budget cuts slashed their funding, cancer clinics have been forced to delay chemotherapy treatment for their patients. Some clinics may actually have to close their doors altogether if the sequester cuts are not reversed. As several cancer doctors told the Hill, they suspect they may not have been at the top at Congress’ list because reduced access to chemotherapy doesn’t personally inconvenience lawmakers in the same way that airport delays do.

WaPo: Cancer clinics are turning away thousands of Medicare patients. Blame the sequester,

Cancer clinics across the country have begun turning away thousands of Medicare patients, blaming the sequester budget cuts.

Oncologists say the reduced funding, which took effect for Medicare on April 1, makes it impossible to administer expensive chemotherapy drugs while staying afloat financially.

It Costs Money, Doesn’t Save Money

The kicker, it doesn’t even save the government money, instead it costs money:

The care will likely be more expensive: One study from actuarial firm Milliman found that chemotherapy delivered in a hospital setting costs the federal government an average of $6,500 more annually than care delivered in a community clinic.

So not only does this sequester kill people, it costs the government much more than it saves.

Deficit Facts

1) The deficit is already falling dramatically. The deficit is already down by 50% as a share of GDP. From See Deficit Falling Even More Dramatically, Few Know It:

2) The intellectual foundation for austerity has been discredited. See anywhere on the web. Especially see The Colbert Report: Austerity’s Spreadsheet Error.

3) Europe’s experiment with austerity has brought nothing but stagnation, recession, unemployment and mass misery and suffering. See ThinkProgress: Austerity Pushes Europe Into Its Second Recession In Four Years, CNBC: Europe Risks ‘Endless Depression’ in Pursuit of Austerity, LA Times: Europe austerity strategy is hurting growth, IMF says, CNN: Austerity drives up suicide rate in debt-ridden Greece and hundreds more such reports…

4) The deficit argument is over. Henry Blodget: The Economic Argument Is Over — Paul Krugman Has Won.

It’s Just Corruption

From March, Surprising Studies Find DC Does What Wealthiest Want, Majority Opposes,

A new study, Democracy and the Policy Preferences of Wealthy Americans … sought to gauge the political and policy priorities of the wealthy, and how these concerns contrast with the concerns of the rest of us. Amazingly, the priorities of the 1% match up with the priorities of our political class, while the priorities and needs of the vast majorities of us are ignored.

This is about who has the money, and who gives it to politicians. That is the definition of corruption. It is not “ideology” it is corruption, nothing more.

Very wealthy people are profiting from this austerity push. Dean Baker explains, in Deficits Are Bad and the Sun Goes Around the Earth,

…many people can profit from slow growth and high unemployment. The after-tax profit share of GDP is at its highest level more than 60 years. For those who own lots of stock and are at the top of the income ladder, times are good. These people may see efforts to lower unemployment as posing a risk. With lower unemployment workers may be able to get a larger share of productivity growth. This may be good for most of the country and mean increased economic growth, but it would mean less for the one percent.

Yes, “people can profit from slow growth and high unemployment.” And politicians are being paid to maintain the slow growth and high unemployment and other things that are driving all the income and wealth to a top few. It is just corruption, nothing more.

From January: Call It Corruption Not Ideology,

Getting paid by corporations to block government action from helping We, the People but hurting corporate profits isn’t an ideology, it’s corruption.

Getting paid by corporations to cut taxes and regulations for corporations isn’t an ideology, it’s corruption.

Getting paid by billionaires to cut taxes for billionaires isn’t an ideology, it is corruption

Call it what it is, don’t launder it by calling it ideology. It is corruption.

This is corruption, it is not ideology, it is not “austerity.” Getting paid by wealthy people to block things that help We the People so those wealthy people can profit is corruption, nothing more. Don’t dignify it, don’t let it serve as a mask. It is just corruption.

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This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF. Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

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