Both chambers of the United States Congress recently passed separate bills to extend the temporary moratorium on the 2% sequestration cut to Medicare reimbursement. The moratorium is currently set to expire on March 31, 2021, and both bills would extend the moratorium until December 31, 2021. However, since the House and Senate legislation differ, further action is needed before the extension becomes law.
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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Beginning April 1, additional savings may be available for new and current consumers who purchase health insurance on HealthCare.gov following passage of the American Rescue Plan. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also extended access to the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for the federally funded health insurance marketplace until August 15, to provide additional time for consumers to enroll or make changes to their coverage with the tax credits that become available April 1.
The Association for Clinical Oncology joined the Prevent Cancer Foundation® and more than 300 other organizations from across the country in signing a letter to convey support for the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act. The legislation would allow the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to evaluate and cover multi-cancer early detection tests once they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) congratulates Xavier Becerra on his confirmation as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Secretary Becerra is now in a key position to lead HHS during the agency’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to address the many challenges facing patients and providers across the cancer care delivery system, such as health care disparities and the high cost of care.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it will hold physicians harmless from Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) penalties due to the significant disruptions the COVID-19 public health emergency placed on physician practices’ performance in 2020.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) Road to Recovery Report: Learning from the COVID-19 Experience to Improve Clinical Research and Cancer Care, among other recommendations, calls for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a special enrollment period on the federal health insurance exchange, abandon plans that limit access to healthcare, and enact policies that enhance access to care for patients with cancer. ASCO applauds the Biden administration for its recent actions supporting policies that aim to promote and protect access to high-quality, equitable cancer care, as outlined in the “Road to Recovery” report.
In the days and weeks leading up to President Biden’s inauguration, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—under the prior administration—issued a number of rules and regulations that affect cancer care delivery. Many of those rules and regulations are now subject to review by the new administration and/or Congress.
On January 7, 2021, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar extended the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) declaration for an additional 90 days, effective January 21.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a revised Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) Conversion Factor (CF) of $34.8931 for 2021. This represents a 3.3% reduction from the 2020 CF of $36.0869. CMS updated the CF as a result of a provision in the $1.4 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (H.R 133), which was signed into law on December 27, 2020.
The Association for Clinical Oncology responded to two requests for information from the Department of Health and Human Services. One Request for Information sought stakeholder feedback and recommendations on which of the temporary regulatory flexibilities instituted during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) should be extended beyond the PHE. The other asked for information on leveraging novel technologies to manage chronic diseases in aging populations living in underserved areas.
On December 28, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking implementation of the Most Favored Nation (MFN) Model. The decision prevents the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from implementing the MFN Model until the agency completes the notice and comment procedures required by the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires CMS to solicit comments on a proposal and respond to those comments before finalizing any rules implementing a new payment model. ASCO submitted an amicus curiae brief in support of the this litigation, and others, to enjoin implementation of the model.
On December 23, 2020, ASCO submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in response to the Reducing Provider and Patient Burden and Promoting Patients' Electronic Access to Health Information proposed rule. This rule builds on the CMS Interoperability and Patient Access final rule and would require Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) managed care plans, state Medicaid and CHIP fee-for-service programs, and Qualified Health Plan (QHP) issuers on federally facilitated insurance exchanges to improve the electronic exchange of health care data, and streamline processes related to prior authorization.