Health care reform is one of the major issues affecting all Americans in 2017, with significant decisions regarding the creation, revision, and implementation of health care policy being debated at the national level.
ASCO remains dedicated to supporting the efforts of policymakers to strengthen the nation’s health care delivery system on behalf of all patients with cancer and their providers. As part of those efforts, ASCO has and will continue to advocate for policies that represent the best interests of its more than 40,000 members and their patients.
This includes the release of “ASCO Principles for Patient-Centered Healthcare Reform,” seven recommendations designed to ensure access to high-quality cancer care amid the changing U.S. health care delivery landscape. The principles aim to assist Congress and the administration, so, as they consider the critical underpinnings of any health care reform proposal, the needs of patients with cancer are met.
“As always, ASCO is committed to improving patient access and quality care and to working with policymakers to help achieve this goal,” said 2016–2017 ASCO President Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FACP, FASCO. “As a new administration and Congress commence their important work, we will continue to advocate for policies that reflect the current realities of today’s cancer care and ensure that patients with cancer receive the full range of services they critically need.”
ASCO offers the following recommendations as a framework for strengthening the cancer care delivery system:
- All Americans should have access to affordable and sufficient health care coverage, regardless of their income or health status. To ensure protected access, the current ban on pre-existing condition limitations, elimination of annual and lifetime coverage caps, and maintenance of guaranteed renewability should be preserved.
- Any efforts to reform the health care system at the national, state, or local levels should ensure that individuals with health care insurance can continue to access affordable insurance without interruption.
- All individuals with cancer should have health insurance that guarantees access to high-quality cancer care that is delivered by a cancer specialist and that provides the full range of services needed by patients with cancer in a timely manner.
- Policymakers should, in any policy changes, promote and protect cancer prevention and screening services, as they are key to reducing cancer mortality. Policymakers should preserve the “no copay” access to screening services that currently exists.
- All patients should have meaningful access to clinical trials, and health insurance coverage should not be a barrier to clinical trial participation.
- Current efforts to improve quality, affordability, and access to care for patients and communities through value-based reform strategies should be continued. Current efforts to improve value in health care should continue to be prioritized, and value-based reforms should be designed and implemented in a patient-centered way.
Health care reform efforts should engage patients and providers to obtain meaningful input in order to avoid unintended consequences during implementation.
The full ASCO principles document is available online, where you can find up-to-the-minute information on how ASCO is working with policymakers to improve the nation’s health care system for medical professionals and patients.