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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October 16, 2019

Issue Overview

Rising health care costs, including escalating drug prices, have led to an increased focus by payers on strategies to guide the use of health care resources. As payers search for ways to control the rising cost of care, they often employ “utilization management" (UM) policies, which are payer-imposed practices that may restrict, limit, or deny coverage for certain treatments.

October 1, 2019

At the 2019 ASCO Advocacy Summit, ASCO members from 35 states held more than 160 Congressional meetings, urging Members of Congress to take action to advance policy priorities which improve patient access to cancer care, including clinical trials.

October 1, 2019

Senators Lisa Murkowski (AK), Doug Jones (AL), and Bill Cassidy (LA) introduced S. 2546, the Safe Step Act of 2019, in the U.S. Senate. If enacted into law, the bill would ensure patients with private insurance have reasonable protections against harmful step therapy practices.

September 24, 2019

ASCO is inviting the entire cancer community to support I Live to Conquer Cancer by watching and sharing videos featuring their colleagues and by using the ACT Network to ask Congress to make it possible for every patient to access high-quality cancer care

September 17, 2019

ASCO submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in response to a proposed rule that would loosen state reporting requirements and potentially threaten access to cancer care for Medicaid beneficiaries. ASCO believes all patients should have access to high-quality, high-value cancer care and is concerned that CMS’ proposal would jeopardize that access.

September 17, 2019

During ASCO's upcoming Advocacy Summit, oncology care providers will urge lawmakers to improve clinical trial access, protect patients from unnecessary care delays, ensure acess to potentially lifesaving medications, and foster continued success of the MACRA program. ASCO members are invited to participate virtually through the ACT Network.

September 17, 2019

The American Medical Association (AMA) and Manatt Health have released, “National Roadmap on State-Level Efforts to End the Opioid Epidemic,” an analysis identifying effective state policies against the national opioid epidemic.

August 22, 2019

ASCO submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in response to the agency’s Request for Information (RFI) on Patients over Paperwork. ASCO’s comments provide the society’s perspective on improving the delivery of cancer care in a way that is beneficial for people with cancer and oncology professionals.

August 22, 2019

ASCO submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in response to a proposed rule regarding Secure Electronic Prior Authorization for Medicare Part D. Under the proposal, clinicians would be able to complete prior authorizations for Part D prescriptions online and through a more streamlined process.

August 15, 2019

On August 9, ASCO submitted a comment letter to Alex M. Azar II, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), regarding the proposed rule on Sec. 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—Nondiscrimination in Health and Health Education Programs or Activities.

August 8, 2019

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new national coverage determination (NCD) announcing that Medicare will now cover Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR T-cell) therapy for certain patients with cancer.

August 6, 2019

ASCO recently submitted comments to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the agency’s draft guidance recommending specific approaches for sponsors of clinical trials to broaden eligibility criteria, redesign clinical trials, and remove patient barriers to increase enrollment of underrepresented populations in their clinical trials.

August 6, 2019

Precision medicine treatments (otherwise known as targeted therapies) have the potential to improve outcomes for patients with advanced cancer. Over the last 5 years, 20% of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) drug approvals have been for precision medicine treatments. With so many treatments coming onto the market, it can be challenging for oncologists to navigate the options available to identify the right treatment for each patient.

July 29, 2019

In a comment letter to Acting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Norman E. “Ned” Sharpless, MD, ASCO expressed concerns that a proposed modification to the existing Opioid Analgesic Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (OA REMS) could adversely affect patients with cancer-related pain.

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