Sequester the “Sequester”

Sequester the “Sequester”

Edward P. Balaban, FACP, DO, FASCO

Dec 02, 2021

The Association for Clinical Oncology’s delegation to the American Medical Association (AMA) recently attended the interim AMA House of Delegates (HOD). It was hoped that this would be an in-person gathering, but as we have become accustomed, the meeting was held virtually once again. The submitted resolutions had to be limited to suit the virtual meeting’s framework. The topics were required to be timely and of “high priority.” Our delegation submitted a resolution that the AMA remain committed with increased efforts against the resumption of the sequestration payment (2%) applied to all Medicare fee-for-service claims, set to begin January 1, 2022. As most are aware, in addition to sequestration there will a 4% Medicare payment cut as a result of the PAY-AS-YOU-GO (PAYGO) law, as well as the expiration of the 3.75% increase in Medicare reimbursement that occurred as a result of short-term pandemic relief. This then of course leads to at least a 9.75% Medicare reimbursement cut for oncology practices. In summary, this change will undoubtedly impact all practices and predictably affect health care access throughout the nation. Our resolution not only emphasized the importance of the House of Medicine’s involvement, but also highlighted the need to move on this quickly. The resolution received enthusiastic positive testimony and was adopted.

As before, our delegation organized and led the Cancer Caucus. It is always interesting and frankly gratifying to witness that sort of interaction. Various relevant topics are routinely discussed. The caucus also provides a networking opportunity that is so missing during this pandemic. Being able to testify at the AMA HOD that the Cancer Caucus endorses a resolution or board report is impactful. I have had the opportunity to watch this caucus grow in number and influence. This event is organized with the dedication of ASCO staff, especially Katie Gifford, Amanda Schwartz, as well as a host of others. This entry would not be complete without a sincere thank you to all those who help this delegation (which includes Drs. Steve Lee, Ray Page, Kristina Novick, Tom Marsland, Barbara McAneny, and Erin Schwab) in its success.

Hopefully an in-person AMA HOD is in the near future.


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