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October 21, 2021

A Coordinated Policy Approach to Address Medical Financial Toxicity

Author Affiliations
  • 1University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center and Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, Colorado
  • 2Surveillance and Health Equity Science Department, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 3Section of Cancer Economics and Policy, Department of Health Services Research, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas
JAMA Oncol. Published online October 21, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2021.3606

Financial toxicity following cancer treatment is increasingly prevalent. Evidence suggests that few families can afford unexpected expenses exceeding $400, and even small increases in out-of-pocket costs are associated with treatment nonadherence,1 potentially widening nationally recognized societal disparities in cancer treatment and survival. High costs may render cancer care unaffordable for the individual patient who is uninsured or underinsured. Despite growing economic and health gaps, a coordinated nationwide policy approach, one that supports clinicians and patients, to curbing cancer’s (as well as other conditions’) financial burden is lacking.

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    2 Comments for this article
    Go Fund Me pages AKA Taxes
    David Egilman, MD, MPH | Brown University
    I suggest a set of go fund me pages, one for each disease or perhaps each treatment or maybe each person and each dependent. This would cover medical expenses, bus fare and other transportation costs, social services, counseling, child care expenses, housing and food costs and perhaps the odd movie or entertainment cost.

    Oops I forgot we have a tax system that should do that.
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: None Reported
    "Let them eat cake."
    Daniel Krell, MD | Retired PCP
    Nothing short of universal health care and related supporting services for patients and their families are going to change/eliminate medical financial toxicity. If not so cynical, self-serving, prejudiced, and tragic, suggestions to tweak our current health care system would be laughable.
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: None Reported
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