In a statement submitted to a House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee hearing entitled, “Examining Bipartisan Legislation to Improve the Medicare Program,” ASCO expressed strong support for two pieces of legislation that aim to strengthen Medicare.
The first bill, H.R. 849, “Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2017,” would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)—a group created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to reduce Medicare spending growth. ASCO supports repealing the IPAB, citing objections over unfair targeting of physicians for savings; appointing unelected board members with no guarantee of adequate physician representation; and significant difficulties for Congress to change IPAB recommendations.
The second bill, H.R. 3120, “To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to reduce the volume of future electronic health record-related significant hardship requests,” would remove a requirement that Electronic Health Record (EHR) meaningful use standards become more stringent over time. ASCO strongly supports the use of interoperable EHRs in oncology practice, but their usage should not impact the quality of patient care by creating unnecessary hardships for providers. ASCO’s 2016 State of Cancer Care in America report cited EHR implementation as the most frequently reported pressure on oncology practices.