Legislative Action Center
Together we can help key policy makers at the federal and local levels better understand how their decisions on policy and legislation impact community oncology care. State and federal legislation can have a real impact on your bottom line, and ultimately how you deliver care, which is why it's so important that ACCC members bring their on-the-frontline perspectives to the legislative process.
2015 Cancer Policy Landscape
Take Action Against Medicare Cuts to Radiation Oncology!
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently proposed cuts to Medicare payments for radiation oncology and radiation therapy in the 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. The proposed cuts would result in a 3% reduction for radiation oncology services and 9% for radiation therapy centers, after payment reductions totaling nearly 20% during the past six years.
Contact your Legislator today and help preserve patient access to high-quality radiation therapy in your state. Payment cuts seriously threaten access to care for many cancer patients across the country by potentially forcing community-based programs to close or limit their services. Congress needs to hear from you!
ACCC is dedicated to passing legislation at the state and federal level that would require health insurance plans to cover orally administered chemotherapy at the same rate as IV-infused counterparts.
On June 11, 2015, the Cancer Drug Coverage Parity Act of 2015, HR 2739/S 1566, was introduced and would eliminate the disparity in patient out-of-pocket costs between oral and intravenous chemotherapy, ensuring that cancer patients have access to needed treatments.
ACCC urges its members to Ask your legislator to support oral parity.
Federal legislation is needed in addition to state legislation, to ensure all insurance policies provide parity for oral treatments. ERISA plans and others fall outside of state regulation. Oral chemotherapy may provide an easier, less intrusive way to fight various types of cancer, but unless Congress acts to create reimbursement equity between oral and IV-infused treatments, most patients will not be able to afford these oral treatment regimens.
State Legislation:ACCC has also worked with a coalition to pass state oral parity laws. Thirty-nine states have now passed such legislation. Please visit our coalition website for a detailed map of state laws.
Even though state laws are currently being passed, federal legislation is still required for two important reasons:
- Language of the laws varies across the states and only federal legislation will ensure the same protections for all patients; and
- State laws only impact state-regulated plans. Federal legislation is needed to cover self-insured plans (ERISA).
Transitioning Payments in Medicare
ACCC applauds the passage of H.R. 2, Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) in April 2015, bringing to an end the Sustainable Growth Rate and years of short-term patches to provider payment rates. MACRA also brings a transition to dual Medicare payment systems that emphasize value over volume: the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Alternative Payment Models (APM).
On November 16, 2015, ACCC submitted comments in response to CMS’s MACRA Request for Information(RFI). Given the multitude of questions in the RFI, we focused on a few issues we found to be of most interest and concern to ACCC members. In brief, our comments urge CMS, in implementing MACRA, to:
- Establish a clear pathway for movement between MIPS and APMs;
- Provide timely feedback on MIPS and APM performance;
- Establish a transparent and fair process for performance benchmarking;
- Ensure providers are only held accountable in the MIPS resource use category for treatment decisions they have actually made, and can control;
- Ensure APMs and Physician-focused Payment Models (PFPMs) incentivize the inclusion of a full range of supportive care services.
More information on MACRA is available here.
Below is more background on the SGR repeal and the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.
SGR is Over: What Will MACRA Mean for Providers?
On Wednesday, April 22, an ACCC members-only conference call with Dan Todd, former Senior Health Counsel, Senate Finance Committee, provided a closer look at MACRA. ACCC members can access a recording of the call here. A one-page summary is available here. View ACCC's MACRA Roadmap infographic here.
- Read ACCC’s press release on the passage of MACRA
- Read our ACCCBuzz blog, SGR is Over: What Does it Mean for Providers?
MACRA encourages providers to participate in Alternative Payment Models, such as the Oncology Care Model. Visit our Oncology Care Model Resource Center to see if this payment system suits your practice.
ACCC supports the development of additional Alternative Payment Models. For example, Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers recently introduced H.R. 1934, legislation that would create the Oncology Medical Home demonstration project under Medicare. ACCC supports this effort to better coordinate patient care; read our support letter here.
Prompt Pay Discount
Because Medicare reimburses using average sales price (ASP), the discount that is customarily provided to drug distributors by manufacturers when they pay promptly for drugs (Prompt Pay Discount) is not passed on to the providers who buy the drugs to give directly to their patients. Result: providers miss about 2 percent of the intended reimbursement on all drugs. Failure to exclude prompt pay discounts from the calculation of ASP threatens the current distribution model for specialty products and artificially lowers Part B reimbursement for physicians and other providers.