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9.19.16 Cancer patients’ survival may depend in part on whether they have private or public health insurance. That’s according to two studies highlighted in a recent story by NPR. Privately insured cancer patients were diagnosed earlier and lived longer than those who were uninsured or were covered by Medicaid, the research showed. One study, "Influence of insurance status on survival of adults with glioblastoma multiforme," focused on more than 13,000 patients with the most common type of malignant brain tumor. The other, "Insurance status and disparities in disease presentation, treatment, and outcomes for men with germ cell tumors," looked at more than 10,000 adults with testicular cancer. “Regardless of cancer type, patients with private insurance had a survival advantage,” the story states. The studies, both published in the journal Cancer in August, used data from the National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results program, which tracks cancer incidence and survival. This is especially important now,as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) considers changes that would force many chronic disease patients onto Medicare rather than letting them choose private insurance. Insurance companies are trying to ban patients’ abilities to use charitable assistance programs in an effort to move patients off of private plans and onto Medicare and Medicaid instead. You can have an impact on protecting patients’ rights. Submit comments to CMS by Sept. 22 and tell them chronic illness patients should be able to choose if they want to use private insurance instead of Medicare and Medicaid, and contact your legislators to tell them you support patient choice and oppose discrimination against patients with chronic diseases. Click here for more information on how to help.