ASCO in ActionASCO 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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March 6, 2018

ASCO submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on proposed changes to Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription plans for 2019. The comments included recommendations for updating prior authorization requirements as well as feedback on policies to address the national opioid epidemic.

February 22, 2018

ASCO submitted comments to the Senate Finance Committee on addressing the opioid epidemic in the United States. ASCO is concerned about the epidemic and its devastating impact on too many Americans and wants to ensure that any efforts to address the epidemic do not inadvertently limit access to appropriate medical therapy for patients with cancer. 

February 20, 2018

The American Medical Association (AMA) recently launched the “Share Your Story” campaign as part of its work to end the opioid epidemic in the United States. ASCO is now accepting campaign submissions from the oncology community highlighting physician efforts to provide appropriate care in the midst of the epidemic and to urge payers and policymakers to improve access to treatment.

February 12, 2018

Congress passed the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018,” which funds the federal government through March 23, 2018, raises the federal budget caps for the next two years, and addresses several policies of importance to the cancer community.

February 7, 2018

ASCO is one of nearly 40 organizations—collectively representing millions of patients with serious and life-threatening diseases—urging Members of Congress to oppose two “right-to-try” (RTT) bills currently under consideration. In a letter to House leadership, the organizations expressed their support for patient access to promising unapproved therapies, but stated that the legislation under consideration would fail to actually expand such access, and more importantly, could do more harm than good to seriously ill patients.

February 7, 2018

ASCO submitted comments to House Energy and Commerce Committee leadership in response to a committee report entitled, “Review of the 340B Drug Pricing Program,” which examines the program and outlines recommendations to address existing challenges. ASCO appreciates the Committee’s efforts to ensure 340B honors its original intent to address the needs of low-income, underserved, and underinsured patients.  

January 24, 2018

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) congratulates Alex Azar for his confirmation as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). As the head of HHS, Secretary Azar has an opportunity to help address critical issues facing the cancer care delivery system, including increasing access to high-quality care, addressing the high cost of care, and supporting the development and dissemination of innovative treatments

January 23, 2018

ASCO submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on the agency’s proposed rulemaking revisions to the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Program (Part D) for 2019. ASCO applauds CMS for its efforts to advance the Part D program’s goal of promoting access to prescription drug therapies at an affordable cost to beneficiaries and urges the implementation of high-quality clinical pathways to promote access to the right drug, for the right patient, at the right time.

January 4, 2018

ASCO sent a letter to CMS to comment on the proposed notice, “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Health and Human Services (HHS) Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2019” and expressed concerns that it would fundamentally alter many of the consumer and patient protections in individual and small group markets and lead to the establishment of qualified health plans that would fail to address the comprehensive medical needs of patients with cancer.