ASCO submitted comments to a Senate Finance Committee markup on the “The Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act (PDPRA),” a package of proposals aimed at addressing the high cost of prescription drugs.
ASCO 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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In early July 2019, 14 out of the 16 members of the House GOP Doctors Caucus sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma requesting that their agencies reconsider a policy allowing Medicare Advantage plans to use step therapy.
Throughout 2019, legislation to address surprise billing—when patients receive unanticipated medical bills for services from out-of-network providers received at in-network facilities—has become a growing focus on Capitol Hill.
On July 10, organizations representing patients, providers, medical researchers, survivors, and their families joined together to call on Congress to improve access to clinical trials for patients with life-threatening diseases. The coalition, which is made up of 86 supporting organizations, is urging Congress to pass the bipartisan CLINICAL TREATMENT Act (H.R. 913), which would guarantee coverage of the routine care costs of clinical trial participation for Medicaid enrollees with a life-threatening condition.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2020-2021 cycle of ASCO’s Health Policy Leadership Development program. The Health Policy Leadership Development Program is a one-year program that gives ASCO members the opportunity to develop expertise in health policy, advocacy, and grassroots activity while learning valuable leadership skills.
A recent American Medical Association (AMA) report on opioids highlights how provider mandates—on training, prior authorizations—have not had a significant impact on curtailing the opioid epidemic. According to the Opioid Task Force 2019 Progress Report, prescription opioid-related mortality may be leveling off, however deaths from heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl and fentanyl analogs are at an all-time high. Instead, the report calls on policymakers to address the opioid epidemic with policies to promote evidence-based treatment.
ASCO joined more than 120 other organizations in signing on to a letter urging Congress to introduce several improvements to ensure the continued success of efforts to implement the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.
ASCO submitted comments to Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee leadership regarding draft legislation to address rising out-of-pocket costs for patients in the United States. ASCO’s comments focus on improving patient access to cancer care by reducing prescription drug prices, improving transparency around pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) practices, and improving public health and the exchange of health information.
On June 5, Members of Congress introduced new, bipartisan legislation that would streamline and standardize prior authorization requirements in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. The bill, entitled “Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act of 2019,” (H.R. 3107) would improve the prior authorization process in MA plans by requiring “real time” authorizations for routinely approved services. The bill was introduced by Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), and Ami Bera (D-CA). ASCO endorsed the legislation and applauds Representatives Reps.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today announced the Health Policy Leadership Development Program Fellows for the 2019-2020 class. Wendy Allen-Rhoades, MD, of Baylor College of Medicine, and Laura LaNiel Tenner, MD, MPH, of The Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, will spend the next year developing leadership skills and healthcare policy expertise. During their fellowship, Dr. Allen-Rhoades and Dr. Tenner will participate in ASCO efforts to shape cancer-related policies that directly affect individuals with cancer and the oncology practice environment.
ASCO members are encouraged to use the ACT Network to tell their representatives in Congress to support the CLINICAL TREATMENT Act and protect patient access to clinical trials.
ASCO submitted comments to a U.S. House Energy & Commerce health subcommittee hearing entitled, “Improving Drug Pricing Transparency and Lowering Prices for American Consumers." The hearing focused on several bills aimed at increasing transparency around drug prices and lowering out-of-pocket costs for patients. ASCO’s comments offer the oncology community’s perspective on several of the bills discussed during the hearing and focus on improving access to affordable cancer care.
This week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced the “Tobacco-Free Youth Act” which will work to protect youth from tobacco products and electronic nicotine delivery systems by raising the national age of sale to from 18 to 21. ASCO endorsed the legislation in a letter from ASCO President Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD, FACS, FASCO.
ASCO recently submitted comments to the Senate Finance Committee hearing, “Medicare Physician Payment Reform After Two Years: Examining MACRA Implementation and the Road Ahead.” The society’s comments focus on ASCO’s efforts to help members implement provisions of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) in their practices and offered ideas for how Congress and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) can strengthen MACRA and the Medicare program in the years ahead.