The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) recently
commended US Representatives Charlie Norwood (R-Ga) and Lois
Capps (D-Calif) for introducing the Quality Cancer Care Preservation
Act (H.R. 1622).
"The current system is clearly broken, and needs to be fixed," said
Paul A. Bunn, Jr, MD, president of ASCO, referring to the current
Medicare reimbursement system for chemotherapy and cancer care
services. "Congressionally mandated Medicare reform that properly
reimburses both cancer drugs and cancer care services is ultimately the
best solution to fixing the current system."
Under the new bill, cancer drugs would be reimbursed at rates based on
the manufacturer's price with an additional amount that would cover the
costs of handling the drugs, including procurement, capital invested in
inventory, storage, waste, and bad debt. The full costs of administering
chemotherapy would be covered, including oncology nurse time, specialized
equipment, and needed supplies. In addition, Medicare would establish
reimbursement for the many services that oncologists provide that are
essential to patient care, including extensive patient/family counseling
regarding treatment, side effects, and end-of-life care; nutrition counseling;
psychosocial services; and social work support.
The new bill is strongly supported by the Cancer Leadership Council,
a 29-member patient-led coalition of national cancer patient advocacy
organizations, professional societies, and research organizations,