ASCO in Action

ASCO in Action provides the latest news and analysis related to critical policy issues affecting the cancer community, updates on the Association for Clinical Oncology’s ongoing advocacy efforts, and opportunities for members and others in the cancer care community to take action.

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August 4, 2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released its 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule and Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System proposed rules. The administration also released an accompanying Executive Order focusing on telehealth and rural healthcare.

July 31, 2020

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recently submitted comments to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in response to its Request for Information (RFI): Seeking Stakeholder Input on Scientific Gaps and Research Needs Related to Delivery of Cancer-related Care via Telehealth. The RFI aims to elicit stakeholder feedback and allow NCI to assess the current state of telehealth in the United States and its role in oncology in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

July 24, 2020

Today President Trump signed four executive orders (EOs) aimed at addressing the high cost of prescription drugs. The EOs, as described by the White House, would: (1) address the price of insulin by requiring federally qualified health centers to pass along any available discounts to patients, (2) allow for importation of certain drugs from other countries, (3) pass manufacturer discounts on Part D drugs to patients at the pharmacy, bypassing pharmacy benefit managers, and finally (4) implement a “favored nations” policy to allow Medicare to purchase Part B drugs at the lower prices paid by foreign countries. The fourth EO will go into effect in 30 days unless drug companies lower their prices first.

June 29, 2020

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) sent a letter to congressional leadership urging more action to address current drug shortages exacerbated by COVID-19 and to prevent future drug shortages. 

June 23, 2020

On June 23, 2020, JCO: Oncology Practice published an article on rural cancer care as part of the State of Cancer Care in America series. "Closing the Rural Cancer Care Gap: Three Institutional Approaches," draws from the second event in the State of Cancer Care in America series and supporting literature to summarize the challenges to delivering high-quality care in rural communities, highlight institutional approaches to addressing these challenges, and update ASCO’s rural workforce data.

June 16, 2020

On June 12, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a final rule establishing changes to Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs or activities.

June 9, 2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released Part 1 of its final rule outlining changes to the Medicare Advantage (MA) and Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit (Part D) programs for contract year 2021. Due to June 1 bid deadlines for both the MA and Part D 2021 plan years, CMS finalized only a subset of the agency’s proposed policies at this time, which the Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) submitted comments regarding six provisions in the proposed rule.

June 3, 2020

On June 3, 2020, ASCO President Dr. Lori J. Pierce released a statement "Responding to Racism and Health Inequality as a Cancer Care Community".

May 26, 2020

In an open letter, the Regulatory Relief Coalition (RRC) called on all health plans in the United States to suspend prior authorization requirements for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19-related services during the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

May 14, 2020

On May 7, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 2021 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters final rule, which updates the regulatory and financial standards for Affordable Care Act (ACA) Exchanges. The rule finalized a policy that gives insurers the discretion to not count any form of direct support from drug manufacturers to enrollees for specific prescription drugs toward the annual limit on patient cost sharing amounts.

May 12, 2020

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recently submitted comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the agency’s draft guidance to encourage the inclusion of older adults in clinical trials of cancer drug treatments.

April 24, 2020

On April 22, HHS announced the allocation of an additional $40.4 billion from the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund.

April 20, 2020

JCO Oncology Practice published an article and accompanying infographic  that examine the impact pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) have on cancer care delivery. The article is part of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) State of Cancer Care in America series, which explores challenges and opportunities in today’s oncology delivery system.

March 27, 2020

Congress recently passed a third legislative package focused on stabilizing the United States economy and shoring up the health care system to ensure it is prepared to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. The bill includes key provisions that will impact the cancer care community, as well as patients with and survivors of cancer.

March 24, 2020

A new study in JCO Oncology Practice (JCO OP) shows that using clinical pathways in an oncology-specific alternative payment model (APM) can help reduce the cost of cancer care.