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Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Compliance of NCI-Designated Cancer Centers With January 2021 CMS Price Transparency Requirements

In a study reported in JAMA Surgery, Childers et al found that only one-third of hospitals with National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer center status were fully compliant with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) price transparency requirements instituted in January 2021....

Health-Care Policy

Reconciliation Bill Focuses on Health-Care Provisions

Update: On August 7, 2022, the Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a broad climate, tax, and health-care reconciliation bill, with a vote of 51 to 50. During a review of the IRA, the Senate parliamentarian removed provisions from the bill that would have required drug companies to pay...

Health-Care Policy

U.S. Cancer Care Facility Acceptance of Medicaid for Simulated Patients With Newly Diagnosed Common Cancers

In a study reported in JAMA Network Open, Marks et al found that only two-thirds of a sample of U.S. Commission on Cancer–accredited cancer care facilities accepted Medicaid insurance for the treatment of four common cancers in a simulated cohort of adult patients with newly diagnosed disease....

Health-Care Policy

Biden Administration Announces New Model to Improve Cancer Care for Medicare Patients

On June 27, the Biden Administration, through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced a new model aimed at improving cancer care for Medicare patients and lowering health-care costs. CMS’ Center for Medicare and...

Health-Care Policy
Legislation

Did the ACA’S Medicaid Expansion Affect Cancer Clinical Trial Enrollment?

Researchers from the SWOG Cancer Research Network, a clinical trials group funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), found that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) expansion of Medicaid insurance in 2014 was followed by a significant increase in the proportion of patients enrolling in SWOG trials...

Health-Care Policy

Study Finds State Public Welfare Spending Was Associated With Improved 5-Year Overall Survival in Black Patients With Cancer

According to a recent report by The Commmonwealth Fund, “large racial and ethnic health inequities, driven by factors both inside and outside the health-care delivery system [in the United States], are common.” The result, according to the report, is that actions that could mitigate health...

Health-Care Policy
Cost of Care

Study Shows Medical Financial Hardship Increases Mortality Risk for Cancer Survivors

New findings from a large national study led by researchers at the American Cancer Society (ACS) show cancer survivors in the United States who reported medical financial hardship had a higher mortality risk than cancer survivors without financial hardship. Medical financial hardship was measured...

Breast Cancer
Health-Care Policy

Race/Ethnicity Mortality Disparity in Patients With De Novo Stage IV Breast Cancer: Effect of Medicaid Expansion

In a study reported in JAMA Oncology, Malinowski et al found that Medicaid expansion resulted in a reduction in the racial and ethnic disparities in mortality among patients with de novo stage IV breast cancer. As stated by the investigators, “Patients who are uninsured and belong to racial and...

Head and Neck Cancer
Health-Care Policy

Effect of Changes to California Medicaid Dental Benefits on Earlier Diagnosis of Oral Cavity Cancer

In a study reported in a research letter in JAMA Oncology, Kana et al found that changes to Medicaid dental benefits in California from comprehensive to emergency services—and then back to comprehensive—were associated with reduced, then increased, percentages of cases of oral cavity cancer...

Health-Care Policy

2023 ACA Proposal Aims to Advance Health Equity and Improve Access to Health-Care Coverage

ASCO submitted comments in response to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 2023 Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters proposed rule. The rule includes proposed changes to standards for issuers and marketplaces and reinstates many...

Health-Care Policy

President’s Cancer Panel Report: Closing Gaps in Cancer Screening for All Americans

Much progress has been made in the past 50 years since the signing of the National Cancer Act of 1971, which included the establishment of the President’s Cancer Panel. Nevertheless, there remain significant opportunities to make improvements across the cancer spectrum, perhaps none more pressing...

Lung Cancer
Health-Care Policy

CMS Expands Coverage of Lung Cancer Screening With Low-Dose CT

On February 10, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a national coverage determination that expands coverage for lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (CT) to improve health outcomes for people with lung cancer. This type of screening is aimed at early...

lung cancer
health-care policy
legislation

Leticia Nogueira, PhD, MPH, on the Association of Medicaid Expansion and Early Mortality Following Lung Cancer Surgery

Leticia Nogueira, PhD, MPH, of the American Cancer Society, discusses results from a study designed to evaluate the impact of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In Medicaid-expansion states, mortality among patients after lung cancer surgery decreased from 2.4% before the ACA to 0.8% after the ACA, with no significant change in non–Medicaid-expansion states.

Health-Care Policy

Study Finds Lower Income Eligibility Limits for Medicaid Associated With Worse Long-Term Survival for Newly Diagnosed Patients With Cancer

A study investigating the association between state Medicaid income eligibility limits and long-term survival among newly diagnosed patients with cancer has found that patients living in states with lower Medicaid income eligibility limits had worse long-term survival compared with patients living ...

Lung Cancer
Breast Cancer
Colorectal Cancer
Prostate Cancer
Health-Care Policy
Legislation

Evaluation of Baseline Cancer Mortality Risk in Medicaid Expansion and Nonexpansion States

In a study of National Cancer Database data reported in a research letter in JAMA Oncology, Salazar et al found little difference in baseline cancer mortality rates between U.S. states that expanded Medicaid enrollment and nonexpansion states prior to expansion in 2009 and immediately following...

Global Cancer Care
Health-Care Policy

Canadian Oncologists Report Costly Delays in Their Drug Regulatory Process

Canada’s publicly funded health-care system has a complex drug approval and funding process. Due to multiple assessment steps and bureaucratic processes, newly developed cancer drugs can often experience long delays before oncologists may use them to treat their patients with cancer. Several...

Health-Care Policy

How the Biden Administration Is Changing Oncology Care

A change in presidential administrations has implications across the health sector, including for oncology. In this column, we review some recent actions by Congress and the Biden administration and their implications for the oncology community. We focus on three areas: funding for patients and...

issues in oncology
health-care policy
legislation

Jingxuan Zhao, MPH, on How Medicaid Expansion Affects Long-Term Cancer Survival

Jingxuan Zhao, MPH, of the American Cancer Society, discusses study findings that showed worse long-term survival among low-income patients with cancer who live in states that have not expanded Medicaid eligibility (Abstract 6512).

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy
Legislation

Study Finds Income Eligibility Limits for Medicaid May Be Associated With Worse Long-Term Survival Among Newly Diagnosed Patients With Cancer

A study investigating the association between state Medicaid income eligibility limits and long-term survival among newly diagnosed patients with cancer has found that patients living in states with lower Medicaid income eligibility limits had worse long-term survival compared with patients living...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy
Legislation

Report Shows Medicaid Expansion Alone Does Not Resolve Disparities in Cancer Care

In the United States, Black and Latinx individuals have higher cancer mortality rates than patients of other races. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014, many states expanded Medicaid eligibility, promising significant gains in coverage for racial minorities. But it...

Breast Cancer
Legislation
Health-Care Policy

Breast Reconstruction Disparities Improved With Medicaid Expansion

Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act was associated with significant increases in breast reconstruction among non-Hispanic Black women, achieving parity at times with non-Hispanic White women, according to a new study presented by Sharon Lum, MD, and colleagues at the American Society...

Health-Care Policy

NCCN 2021 Virtual Annual Conference

New recommendations to advance racial equity, ways to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer care, and ongoing strategies for preventing and controlling human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cancers led the conversation at the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) 2021...

Gastrointestinal Cancer
Health-Care Policy

Medicaid Expansion Is Associated With Earlier Diagnosis of Gastric Cancer, Improved Survival

Medicaid expansion caused a decrease in uninsured patients and led to an earlier diagnosis of gastric cancer with an associated increase in 1-year survival, according to research presented by Zhu et al at the Society of Surgical Oncology 2021 International Conference on Surgical Cancer Care...

Health-Care Policy
Global Cancer Care

Cancer Control in Egypt: Investing in Health

Egypt is a country of 1,010,408 km2 located on the northeast corner of Africa with a population exceeding 100 million. In 2018, there were about 134,632 new cancer cases and 89,042 cancer-related deaths in Egypt. Liver and breast cancers are the most common tumors in terms of incidence and...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

New Report Reviews Methods for Reducing Waste, Improving Efficiency With Expensive Injectable Medications

Every year, significant amounts of drugs left over and unused from single-dose vials are discarded, but because of the way drugs are priced and paid for in the United States, the cost of the discarded amount cannot be recouped, according to a new congressionally mandated report from the National...

Lung Cancer
Health-Care Policy
Legislation
COVID-19

‘State of Tobacco Control’ 2021 Report Says Ending Tobacco Use Is Critical, Especially During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, tobacco use remains a serious public health threat. In addition to tobacco-related death and disease, smoking also increases the risk of the most severe impacts of COVID-19. The American Lung Association has released its 19th annual “State of Tobacco Control”...

Health-Care Policy

Medicaid Expansion May Be Linked to Lower Mortality Rates for Three Major Types of Cancer

In states that have expanded Medicaid availability as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), mortality rates for three major types of cancer are significantly lower than in states that have not expanded Medicaid availability, according to a recent study by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer...

Health-Care Policy

Effect of a Pay-for-Performance Program on Prescriptions and Spending for Oncology Drugs

In a study reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Justin E. Bekelman, MD, and colleagues found that institution of a national insurer’s pay-for-performance program resulted in a higher rate of prescriptions for evidence-based oncology drug regimens but did not reduce overall health-care...

Issues in Oncology
Legislation
Health-Care Policy
COVID-19

AACR Releases 10th Edition of Annual Cancer Progress Report

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) has released the 10th edition of its annual Cancer Progress Report. The report highlights how cancer research, largely supported by federal investments in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), is...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Medicare Part D Spending on Oncology Drugs

In a study reported in JCO Oncology Practice, Ziakas et al found that Medicare Part D spending on oncology drugs increased markedly between 2013 and 2017, with spending increasing at a rate markedly greater than that attributed to all other medical care providers. Study Details Medicare Part D...

Health-Care Policy

Past CMS and FDA Head Discusses Challenges in U.S. Health-Care Policy and Possible Solutions

As evidenced at this year’s ASCO20 Virtual Scientific Program, oncology science, technology, and clinical practice are evolving at a rapid pace, bringing new challenges to the efficient and ethical practice of cancer care at all levels. To shed light on some of the large-scale public health and...

Breast Cancer
Health-Care Policy

Effect of Medicaid Expansion on Breast Cancer Stage at Diagnosis

In a study reported in JAMA Surgery, Le Blanc et al found that Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act was associated with increased insurance coverage and reduction in rates of diagnosis of breast cancer at later stages. Study Details The study involved data from the National Cancer...

cost of care
health-care policy

Blase N. Polite, MD, MPP, on Optimizing Cancer Policies in the United States

Blase N. Polite, MD, MPP, of the University of Chicago Medical Center, discusses his belief that, in the next few years, we can bend the cancer drug cost curve and tame health-care costs if physicians, pharmaceutical companies, payers, and government come together and agree on the value of treatments that improve survival and quality of life.

Health-Care Policy
Genomics/Genetics

Trends in Policy Coverage for ctDNA Testing

New research published by Douglas et al in JNCCN—Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network examined coverage trends for circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) testing, also known as liquid biopsy. In the first-ever study to analyze insurance coverage for ctDNA-based panel tests, researchers found ...

Health-Care Policy

The 21st Century Cures Act: A Look Back, a Look Ahead

It was ambitious and it was controversial, but the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act (Cures) made it through both houses of Congress and was signed into law in December 2016. Sponsored by Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Fred Upton (R-MI), the landmark legislation funded new medical...

Health-Care Policy

Addressing Discrimination and Bias in Medical Education

“As a medical student, I often felt marginalized from my medical community. I have been told that my name is ‘not American,’ fallen prey to being confused for support staff such as a janitor (even while wearing my white coat), and been asked questions like, ‘Where are you really from?’ or ‘How old...

Health-Care Policy

Leaders of the PROMISE Study Address Racial Inequities in the United States

In 2018, researchers from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute launched a large, ambitious screening study called PROMISE (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT03689595). The objectives of the study were to identify people with premalignant precursor conditions of multiple myeloma, understand the molecular...

Lung Cancer
Health-Care Policy

Impact of Medicare OCM Reporting Requirements on Biomarker Testing and Treatment in Advanced NSCLC

In a study reported in JCO Oncology Practice, Emily H. Castellanos, MD, MPH, and colleagues found that the requirement for Medicare Oncology Care Model (OCM) practices to report biomarker testing of patients with advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has not substantially altered the...

Health-Care Policy
Legislation

Study Finds Cancer-Related Deaths Declined in States With Expanded Access to Medicaid

States that adopted Medicaid expansion after passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 saw a decline in cancer mortality rates by 29% compared with 25% in states that did not expand access to Medicaid, according to a study by Anna Lee, MD, MPH, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New...

Breast Cancer
Colorectal Cancer
Legislation
Health-Care Policy

Late-Stage Cancer Diagnoses After Massachusetts Health Insurance Reform Law

Advanced-stage cancer diagnoses declined following health insurance expansion in Massachusetts, likely due to increased access to screening and diagnostic services that identified cancers earlier, according to new research published by Sabik et al in the journal Medical Care. The analysis...

Breast Cancer
Gynecologic Cancers
Health-Care Policy
Genomics/Genetics

CMS Expands Coverage of Next-Generation Sequencing for Patients With Breast or Ovarian Cancer

On January 27, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) took action to cover U.S. Food and Drug Administration–approved or –cleared laboratory diagnostic tests using next-generation sequencing (NGS) for patients with germline ovarian or breast cancer. Over the last several years, CMS ...

Prostate Cancer
Health-Care Policy
Cost of Care

Price Transparency and Variation for Prostate Cancer Radiation Therapy

In a study reported in JAMA Oncology, Trevor Royce, MS, MD, MPH, and colleagues found that publicly available information on pricing for radiation treatment for prostate cancer was complex and inconsistent, and that pricing varied widely among National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer...

Cost of Care
Health-Care Policy

Rising Cost and Use of Oral Anticancer Drugs and Increased Medicare Part D Spending

In a study reported in a research letter in JAMA Oncology, Emily Stamell Ruiz, MD, MPH, and colleagues found that rising drug costs and use accounted for 56% and 44%, respectively, of increased Medicare Part D spending on oral anticancer drugs between 2013 and 2017. Study Details The analysis...

Health-Care Policy

Studies Show the U.S. Health-Care System Hampered by Waste and Trailing Other High-Income Countries

Recent studies show that at least one-quarter of our nation’s health-care expenditures are being consumed by waste, fraud, and abuse. Moreover, since 2004, annual reports from the Commonwealth Fund have consistently rated the performance of our health-care system last among high-income countries,...

Issues in Oncology
Cost of Care
Health-Care Policy

New Policy Brief Explains How Co-pay Accumulators, Maximizers Increase Cost of Cancer Care for Patients

Health insurers, employers, and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) have shifted a growing share of the costs for specialty prescription medicines to their patients and beneficiaries. Since insurer cost-sharing requirements for prescription medications can be uniquely burdensome compared to other...

Health-Care Policy
Palliative Care

Palliative Care Bill Unanimously Approved by U.S. House of Representatives

On October 28, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA). The bipartisan bill would increase federal research funding for palliative care—including pain and symptom management—and would establish palliative care...

issues in oncology
health-care policy

Justin Barnes, MS, on the Affordable Care Act and Risk of Suicide in Patients With Cancer

Justin Barnes, MS, of the St. Louis University School of Medicine, discusses his findings on the risk of suicide, which is higher in patients with cancer than in other adults but can be reduced by health policy interventions, including components of the Affordable Care Act (Abstract LBA9).

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy
Legislation

AACR Cancer Progress Report 2019 Released

Today, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) released the AACR Cancer Progress Report 2019, which highlights how research largely supported by federal investments in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is spurring improvements in public health and innovations across the spectrum...

Issues in Oncology
Gynecologic Cancers
Health-Care Policy

ASTRO 2019: Effect of Closure of Women’s Health Clinics From 2010 to 2013 on Cervical Cancer Screening and Detection

Following the closure of nearly 100 women’s health clinics across the United States from 2010 to 2013, fewer women were screened for cervical cancer; more women were diagnosed with advanced stages of the disease; and disease mortality rates rose. Findings from a new analysis combining several...

Health-Care Policy

2020 Fee Schedule Proposal Outlines E&M Code and MIPS Changes

On July 29, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its proposed rule for the 2020 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) and other changes to Medicare Part B payment policies, including proposals related to the Quality Payment Program (QPP). At the same time, CMS released...

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