On September 30, President Trump signed into law a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government through December 11, 2020. The CR includes flat funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and does not include any emergency or additional funding for the NIH to mitigate disruptions to trials/research due to COVID-19.
The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is disappointed that the Congress and the Administration have not yet worked together to provide a much-needed increase for research funding. Increased funding is more important than ever as the research community tackles challenges and setbacks due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency. ASCO will continue to advocate for robust increases to baseline funding for the NIH and NCI, as well as emergency funding to help support the research community and mitigate disruptions in clinical trials due to COVID-19.
ASCO is pleased to report that the CR does include other provisions of importance to the oncology community:
- NIH Multi-year Grants – Extends the availability of funding for NIH multi-year grants that were available for obligation through Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 and were set to expire on September 30, 2020, but were interrupted by COVID-19.
- Medicare’s Accelerated and Advanced Payment Programs (AAP) – Delays repayment for emergency loans obtained through Medicare’s accelerated and advance payment (APP) programs for one year, and makes other changes to the program to help providers pay back loans, including:
- Extending the recoupment period to one year (instead of four months after initial payment)
- Reducing the interest rate from 9.5% to 4%
- Reducing the offset amount to 25% for the first 11 months, 50% for the next six months, with a full 29 months to repay the balance in full
- Making other changes related to transparency and the availability of future funds. ASCO is looking more closely at these provisions to determine their impact on providers.
- Part B Premiums – Protects Medicare beneficiaries from a Part B premium increase by holding 2021 Part B premiums at the 2020 level for the standard premium, plus 25% of the difference between the 2020 amount and the preliminarily monthly actuarial rate for 2021. Beneficiaries will have to pay a $3 surcharge on their monthly premium until the supplementary medical insurance (SMI) is repaid.
- Healthcare Extenders – Contains extenders for various public health, Medicare, and Medicaid programs (including funding for community health centers, teaching health centers, and the disproportionate share hospital (DSH) program, among others) through December 11, 2020.
Follow ASCO in Action for more updates on federal funding conversations and the latest policy and practice news.