ASCO Supports Congressional Action on SGR Repeal Legislation: End Perennial Threat to Patient Access Before Door Closes

Statement by ASCO President Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP
For immediate release
December 11, 2013


Mary Rappaport

The American Society of Clinical Oncology supports the efforts of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee to repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula currently used to determine physician reimbursement and replace it with a new model for payment under Medicare.

For more than a decade, ASCO has advocated to eliminate the flawed SGR formula. The payment system has long been a source of great instability within the oncology community and has posed a perennial threat to access to cancer care for Medicare beneficiaries. ASCO believes that the SGR Repeal and Medicare Beneficiary Access Act of 2013 is a strong framework that moves the nation toward a more rational, reliable payment system that reflects the realities of delivering medical care in today’s world.

ASCO continues to seek refinements to the legislation to establish thresholds under the Value Based Performance Program instead of the current structure because it has the potential to penalize high performers who are performing only slightly lower than their peers. We also urge the Committees to consider annual positive updates for physicians, beyond the nominal short-term increases currently proposed.

At a time when the cost of repeal of the SGR is reduced significantly, the current bi-partisan, bicameral support for this legislation—together with substantial engagement by the physician community—is an opportunity that should not be missed. This is a rare opportunity to fix what has been an intractable problem and we seize the moment before it once again becomes more expensive to resolve. We look forward to further discussions and opportunities to refine the legislation before final passage.


About ASCO: 

Founded in 1964, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is the world’s leading professional organization representing physicians who care for people with cancer. With more than 35,000 members, ASCO is committed to improving cancer care through scientific meetings, educational programs and peer-reviewed journals. ASCO is supported by its affiliate organization, the Conquer Cancer Foundation, which funds groundbreaking research and programs that make a tangible difference in the lives of people with cancer. For ASCO information and resources, visit Patient-oriented cancer information is available at Cancer.Net.