David Campbell of Augusta, GA writes:
I am shocked at a proposal to cut $940 million in Medicare funding for dialysis. Why? Because I am only one of the people on this treatment among many others, and without this treatment I would die.
It is a life-and-death treatment. What right does the system have to vote on this life-and-death situation?
He’s not the only one frustrated by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) recent proposal to cut funding for dialysis treatments by approximately 12 percent. The cost of dialysis treatment for the those with kidney failure, also known as end stage renal disease, falls almost completely on the shoulders of Medicare and Medicaid. That’s because almost no health insurance plans cover it. That includes Medicare Supplements and Medicare Advantage. Once diagnosed with ESRD, most people receive treatment through government funding.
In an open letter to CMS, Jim Anderson, DaVita Topeka Dialysis, writes:
As a dialysis facility administrator at Topeka Dialysis Center in Topeka, I oversee the nurses and patient care technicians in my facility for 170 kidney failure patients every day. My patients, on average, require tedious, four-hour dialysis sessions three times a week to rid their bodies of deadly toxins and help them live full and active lives.
I am writing because I am concerned and frustrated about a recent proposal by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that would cut Medicare reimbursement for dialysis care by close to 12 percent.
Considering that Medicare reimbursement already fails to cover the cost of dialysis, further cuts could be devastating. The effects of these proposed cuts to dialysis care may force reductions in staffing levels, reduced access to such additional services as social workers, nurses or dietitians and, potentially, dramatically reduce access to dialysis care in Topeka altogether. In turn, these effects may be passed to patients, reducing access to life-sustaining dialysis care.
The sentiment of families with loved ones receiving weekly treatment is that the government’s proposed cut is “particularly idiotic and cold-hearted”. Oliver Willis says “My mother has end-stage renal disease and has been on dialysis since September of last year. At her dialysis center, the vast majority of the people getting treatment are middle to low income and have their services paid for by Medicare or Medicaid. If they don’t get dialysis treatment, their kidneys will stop functioning and they will die. Period.”
From this reporter’s point of view, the proposed measure seems completely draconian. Where is the compassion for the sick, the elderly and the poor promised by the Obama Administration? This is not compassionate. If this is the result of needing the cash to fund Obamacare, which promised not to cut Medicare benefits.