Close to 100 ASCO volunteers from across the country came to Capitol Hill on September 27-28 for the second Annual ASCO Advocacy Summit, where they urged Congress to act on major policy priorities to improve research and access to treatment for the more than 15.5 million people in the United States living with a history of cancer.
ASCO volunteers asked members of Congress to:
- Stop a proposal from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that would apply Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) adjustments – a range of bonuses and penalties for providers – to Part B drug cost.
- Ensure patient access to necessary cancer treatment by supporting the Cancer Drug Parity Act.
- Pass a Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 funding bill that increases funds for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $2 billion.
In interviews conducted during the Summit, ASCO volunteers spoke passionately about these issues and why it is so crucial for the oncology community to be vocal on Capitol Hill. Videos from the Summit are available on YouTube.
At a reception on Capitol Hill, ASCO presented its “Congressional Leadership Award” to Representative Leonard Lance (NJ-7), to recognize his commitment to advancing policies to improve research and treatment for people with cancer. Nearly a dozen members of Congress attended the reception, and many spoke about their own experiences with cancer. During a breakfast meeting at the Summit, Representative Brian Higgins (NY-26) said, “The only failure in cancer research is when you quit because of a lack of funding. We [in Congress] need your expertise to say it takes decades of sustained research investment to test the safety and efficacy of cancer drugs.”
ASCO also presented its “Advocate of the Year Award” to Robin Zon, MD, FACP, FASCO, for her significant advocacy work on behalf of individuals living with cancer and their cancer care teams. ASCO also recognized other advocacy champions who have been who have been exceptionally active in ASCO’s advocacy activities throughout the year.
ASCO members not attending the Summit in person participated in a Virtual Hill Day by sending letters to their Congressional representatives urging them to take action on key cancer care issues. ASCO members can still use the ACT Network to send messages to their elected officials to encourage them to act on these priority issues.
See some of the best images and updates from volunteers participating in the Advocacy Summit.
Stay connected to all of the policies affecting cancer research and care through ASCO in Action.