Article in Leading Cancer Journal Calls on Oncologists to Support Single-Payer National Health Insurance

A feature article published today [Friday, Jan. 17] in the Journal of Oncology Practice contains an evidence-based appeal by two oncologists, including a past president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), for their colleagues to endorse a single-payer health system.

The authors are Dr. Ray Drasga, a longtime community-based oncologist who founded a free clinic in his own community of Crown Point, Ind., and Dr. Lawrence Einhorn, a distinguished professor of medicine at Indiana University Hospital in Indianapolis. 

Einhorn is perhaps best known for his pioneering research in the treatment of testicular cancer; his successful treatment of cyclist Lance Armstrong received widespread media attention. His research interests also include tumor oncology and lung cancer.

Einhorn is also past president of ASCO, the largest and most respected oncology society in the world, and has won numerous professional awards for his achievements in clinical cancer research.

“With the costs of cancer care skyrocketing out of control, most people with cancer are burdened not only physically but also financially,” said Dr. Drasga, the lead author. “They delay or do not receive care due to their inability to pay.

“The crisis in health care is much more pronounced in cancer due to the high costs of drugs, tests, and procedures,” he said. “For example, the cost of a new cancer drug has increased to a median price of $10,000 per month since 2010, and some drugs cost much more.

“The situation is worsening,” he said. “We need a fundamental shift in our approach to funding health care in the United States.”

The authors ask their fellow oncologists and their society, ASCO, to endorse a single-payer system of national health care insurance. They say they do not believe that the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” will be able to solve the health care crisis that cancer patients face.

The Journal of Oncology Practice is a publication of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Its focus is on providing oncologists and other oncology professionals with information aimed at enhancing practice efficiency and promoting a high standard for quality of patient care.

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