The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said it does not have the power to reverse or prevent the sequestration cuts to reimbursement for Part B drugs, responding to a bipartisan request for information from Congress.
CMS’s response may force Congress to revisit legislation sponsored by Renee Ellmers (R-NC) that stops the automatic cuts to cancer care. The more than 120 Members of Congress who had co-signed the letter requested the agency use “any available flexibility” to “direct the cuts away from patients.” However, the response from CMS indicates that Congress will have to act to scale back the cuts to cancer clinics.
Since the implementation of sequestration for Medicare in April, an ASCO survey finds oncology practices are working hard to continue providing care for Medicare patients, but many are being forced to send patients to hospitals for chemotherapy. Survey results also indicate a smaller number are no longer able to see Medicare patients at all. Over time, these changes may radically alter the cancer delivery system in the United States.
Visit ASCO’s ACT Network to take action by urging your Representative to cosponsor legislation that reverses sequestration cuts, which are threatening community practice and patients access.