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Medicare and Medicaid consider cuts to dialysis treatment
ESCAMBIA COUNTY -- The furloughs may be reduced but federal budget cuts continue. Medicare and Medicaid are considering a nine-percent cut to dialysis treatment. Senator Marco Rubio sent a staff member to hear the concerns of dialysis patients in Pensacola.
Many dialysis patients have spent months trying to rally as much support as they can to send a message to lawmakers, 'leave Medicare funding alone' now they finally got their chance.
The day had finally come for Robert Derow and Demtra Bradley for a chance to tell senator Marco Rubio's representative. Funding cuts to Medicare, and their dialysis treatment, could have deadly consequences.
Robert Derow dialysis patient said, "I need dialysis and all these people here need jobs, and if you cut the dialysis and if you come back here six months from now, you won't see some of the people you're talking to right now."
Sequestration has the centers for Medicare and Medicaid services looking for ways to reduce their budget. The agency says they understand how the proposed funding cut could hurt patients and physicians, that's why the funding cut would be slowly phased in, if it gets approved.
After undergoing 15 years of dialysis treatment, Demetra Bradley feels lawmakers should look elsewhere to trim the budget.
Demetra Bradley dialysis patient said, "I think there's enough fat at the top that can be cut without it involving somebody's health or somebody's life."
Around 80 percent of dialysis patients rely on Medicare to pay for treatment. They wanted Rubio to know, getting treatment three times a week can be taxing, but their lives depend on it.
Kris Tande Sen. Rubio representative said, "If you're against a specific part of a bill and obviously you're against the cuts to dialysis and Ill pass that up to senator Rubio."
Bradley said, "I think we need to keep more pressure on them to make sure they understand that we're here and we're not going away."
The centers for Medicare and Medicaid services are expected to make a decision on the proposed cuts in November.