On Friday, May 28, President Biden released his full Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget request, which expands on the ‘skinny’ budget released in early April 2021. The full budget request includes an increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and would fully fund the 21st Century Cures Act and the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot Initiative. While the budget request is non-binding, it does signal the President’s priorities to Congress, stakeholders, and the general public.
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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“The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) congratulates Chiquita Brooks-LaSure on her confirmation as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Administrator Brooks-LaSure is now in a key position to lead CMS during the agency’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the evolving implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) under the new Administration.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced updates to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) under the Quality Payment Program (QPP). The agency reweighted the 2020 MIPS cost performance category, opened applications for the 2021 MIPS promoting interoperability performance category hardship and extreme and uncontrollable circumstances exceptions, and released MIPS Cost measure benchmarks.
The Improving Senior’s Timely Access to Care Act (H.R. 3173) was recently re-introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Suzan DelBene (WA), Mike Kelly (PA), Dr. Ami Bera (CA), and Larry Bucshon (IN). The bill aims to streamline prior authorization practices and reduce care delays within the Medicare Advantage (MA) program.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released part two of the Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2022 and Pharmacy Benefit Standards final rule (NBPP). The rule finalizes some of the standards in the proposed rule for states, exchanges, non-federal governmental plans, issuers in the individual and small-group markets (including those that participate in the federally facilitated exchange direct enrollment program), and web brokers.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Medicare Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System and Long-Term Care Hospital Rates Proposed Rule. The proposed rule would update the Medicare fee-for-service payment rates and policies for inpatient hospitals and long-term care hospitals for FY 2022. It also aims to enhance the health care workforce in rural and underserved communities, in addition to addressing gaps in health equity.
UPDATE: On Tuesday, April 13, 2021, the House passed the Senate bill to extend the moratorium on the 2% Medicare sequestration cuts through the end of the calendar year. President Biden signed the bill into law on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. CMS has resumed processing claims.
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.
On Thursday, March 11, President Biden signed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package into law. The legislation, known as the American Rescue Plan, allocates money for vaccines, schools, small businesses and anti-poverty programs such as an expanded child tax credit that would mean new monthly payments to many parents.
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.
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.