On September 30, President Trump signed into law a Continuing Resolution (CR), which would provide flat funding for federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), through November 21, 2019. ASCO encourages Congress to take action to include the highest increase possible in a full Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 funding package.
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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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.
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.
ASCO today presented Representatives Ben Ray Luján (NM-3) and Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) with its annual Congressional Leadership Award in recognition of the lawmakers' exceptional, bipartisan commitment to supporting cancer research and treatment. The ASCO award honors Members of Congress who are leading champions for patients and survivors of cancer, their families, and their cancer care teams.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) presented its 2018 Advocate of the Year Award to Alexandra Thomas, MD, for her exceptional contributions and commitment to the society’s policy and advocacy efforts. As a 2017-2018 participant in ASCO’s Leadership Development Program (LDP), Dr. Thomas went above and beyond to improve research and access to treatment for people living with cancer.
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.
ASCO joined 370 health care groups in urging members of the U.S. House of Representatives to support the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act (H.R. 3107). The bipartisan bill would help protect patients from unnecessary care delays by streamlining and standardizing prior authorization under Medicare Advantage (MA) and providing program oversight and transparency for MA beneficiaries.
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.
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.
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.
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.