ASCO has released a position statement, “Block Grants in Medicaid & Their Impact on Cancer Care,” summarizing the Society’s concerns about the potential negative impact that block grants—proposals that establish annual limits on federal funding for Medicaid—could have on patients with cancer.
“A transition to block grants could transform Medicaid from a safety net program, designed to meet basic health needs for low-income Americans, to a program with funding limits that drive care rationing for the most vulnerable,” said ASCO President Howard A. “Skip” Burris III, MD, FACP, FASCO. “ASCO supports Medicaid reform, but such efforts …must allow individuals to have access to high-quality cancer care without interruption.”
ASCO’s statement makes the following recommendations:
“Transforming Medicaid into a block grant program would jeopardize health and outcomes for people with cancer,” said Dr. Burris. “Furthermore, reducing access to care, such as recommended cancer screenings, could actually end up increasing the cost of care when patients present to providers with more complex, late-stage illnesses.”
The position statement follows ASCO’s 2017 health-care reform principles, which state that Americans should have access to affordable and sufficient health-care coverage regardless of their income, and its 2014 policy statement on Medicaid reform, which calls for changes to ensure access to high-quality cancer care for low-income individuals.
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