During ASCO's Advocacy Summit on September 27 - 29, oncology care providers will be on Capitol Hill to encourage policymakers to support cancer policy priorities that will ensure patients with cancer have access to high-quality, high-value care.
ASCO in Action regularly provides the latest news and analysis related to cancer policy news; see the following online articles. These updates provide snapshots of ASCO’s ongoing advocacy efforts, as well as opportunities for ASCO members and guests to take action on critical issues affecting the cancer community.
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On Aug. 3, the United States Senate approved a "right-to-try" bill by unanimous consent. The bill would authorize the use of unapproved drug therapies by terminally ill patients, who have exhausted other treatment options and are unable to participate in ongoing clinical trials, as long as the drugs have been tested in Phase I clinical trials and are continuing in further Food and Drug Administration (FDA) research. A physician must certify that the patient is not eligible for a clinical trial with the drug, but there no requirements for physician participation.
The United States Senate is expected to vote this week on health system reform legislation. The Senate today passed a motion on party lines to proceed, so it will have 20 hours to debate its legislative proposal. A vote on the bill will take place following the debate.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation recently held a hearing to examine the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) oversight of the 340B Drug Pricing Program. Following the hearing, ASCO sent a letter to leadership of the subcommittee recommending changes to the program to better serve the oncology community.
In a statement submitted to a House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee hearing entitled, “Examining Bipartisan Legislation to Improve the Medicare Program,” ASCO expressed strong support for two pieces of legislation that aim to strengthen Medicare.
On July 19, the House Appropriations Committee voted to advance legislation to provide a $1.1 billion increase to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Given the funding environment on Capitol Hill, it’s unlikely the appropriations bill passed by the Committee will be signed into law-as is.
In an effort to help the oncology community understand the specific provisions of healthcare reform legislation, ASCO has developed a side-by-side comparison of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with the two bills currently moving through Congress that aim to repeal and at least partly replace the law. ASCO filtered its comparison through the lens of the society’s principles for healthcare reform.
“On June 13, the delegates of the American Medical Association (AMA) voted for Barbara McAneny, MD, FASCO, MACP, as the organization’s President-elect, making her the first oncologist elected to serve in this important leadership position. In our national dialogue on access to health care, patients with cancer often highlight the broader challenges facing the entire system. The awareness Dr. McAneny brings, as an oncologist at the helm of the largest physician association, will benefit patients and providers broadly. On behalf of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), I offer my congratulations to my friend and colleague, Dr. McAneny."
On June 13, the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) held a hearing on how the drug delivery system affects what patients pay for prescription drugs. The hearing explored an array of pricing issues, including the role of pharmacy benefit managers and insurers, the potential of value-based purchasing, and the pricing practices of drugmakers.
ASCO has joined a coalition of more than a dozen specialty societies in supporting an effort in the U.S. House of Representatives to relieve the significant administrative burdens and financial penalties slated to be imposed on physicians in 2018 as part of the Medicare physician fee schedule (MPFS)—due to be released this summer. ASCO is concerned about the impact these burdens could have on patient care since oncologists would have to juggle the requirements of multiple Medicare quality improvement programs in addition to time spent providing patient care.
On May 4, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1628, the "American Health Care Act" (AHCA), in a 217-213 vote. The bill would repeal and at least partly replace the Affordable Care Act if signed into law.
Congress announced a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in their Fiscal Year 2017 omnibus appropriations bill.
ASCO recently joined more than 180 patient and provider advocacy groups in signing a letter to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), urging the congressional advisory group to reconsider proposed changes to Medicare Part B drug reimbursement.
ASCO has announced that Alexander Chin, MD, MBA, and Joanna C. Yang, MD, have been selected for the 2017-2018 ASCO Health Policy Fellowship program, now entering its second year.
On Friday, March 24, the U.S. House of Representatives withdrew H.R. 1628, the "American Health Care Act" (AHCA), which would have repealed and partly replaced the Affordable Care Act (ACA). House Members were unable to come to an agreement on enough key details to pass the bill.