CMS Formally Withdraws Medicare Part B Demo

October 3, 2017

On October 3, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) officially withdrew the proposed Medicare Part B Drug Demo, which would have reduced the Average Sales Price (ASP) reimbursement rate for Part B drugs based on primary care service areas. ASCO has opposed the demo since its release in March 2016, citing a flawed premise, experimental nature, and lack of important patient protections. The proposal stalled in late 2016, but was never formally withdrawn.

ASCO and other patient and physician advocacy groups raised concerns about the demo again in early 2017, when the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), a congressional advisory group, suggested reviving the proposal. In response to MedPAC’s recommendations, nearly 270 advocacy groups sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), urging the agency to formally withdraw the demo.

The society is pleased that CMS has now formally withdrawn the demo, however, ASCO continues to urge the agency to ensure fair and adequate Medicare reimbursement for all of the services needed by patients with cancer. ASCO will continue to work with CMS and Congress to advance policies that foster the best possible care to patients with cancer, including stable Medicare reimbursement for the full range of care oncologists provide, and access to timely, quality care for people with cancer.

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