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ASCO Takes Strong Stand during Debt-Ceiling Debate

Sep 07, 2011

As both temperatures and tensionaround the federal budget debateclimbed to record highs in mid-summer,ASCO took a strong stand in oppositionto the $3 billion in cuts to Medicarereimbursement for chemotherapydrugs and biologics. In a joint letter tothe White House and in alerts and callsto-action to the membership, ASCOargued that cuts would weaken thenation’s cancer care delivery systemby putting undue strain on communitypractices already suffering from artificiallylow Medicare reimbursement forchemotherapy drugs.

Through the ACT Network (see below),more than 500 ASCO members contactedtheir members of Congress urgingthem not to cut cancer care. ASCOalso conducted a one-day ad blitz onCapitol Hill, placing the ad “Cancerpatients shouldn’t be a casualty of thenational debt negotiations” in the printand online editions of Politico, Roll Call,Congressional Quarterly, and the HillNewspaper.

After the vote on a debt-ceiling compromise,ASCO CEO Allen S. Lichter,MD, wrote the following in a letter to members on ASCOconnection.org:

“The cut that was proposed—and willlikely be considered again—underscoresa much larger problem. Medicare,which help pays for the treatmentof over half of all patients with cancer,is strained by rising health care costs,and an influx of new beneficiaries. . .ASCO recognizes that the Medicarepayment system is broken and hasbeen in need of repair for some time.The Society stands ready to work withCongress to develop a new system thatwould reimburse oncologists fully andfairly for the critical services involvedin treating Medicare patients withcancer.”

Join ASCO’sACT Network
ASCO’s ACT Network, an onlinelegislative alert and action network,provides an easy way formembers to send messages toCongressional representativesand other leaders. To sign up,visit asco.org/advocacytools.

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