Greatly Frustrated by Congressional Failure to Act on Sustainable Growth Rate

Disappointing 12-Month ‘Patch’ Throws Oncology Practices into One More Year of Instability


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Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP ASCO President

ASCO will continue to press Congress to do its job by repealing the SGR formula and replacing it with a more stable and rational system that ensures access to high-quality cancer care for all Medicare beneficiaries.

—Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP ASCO President

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is deeply frustrated by the failure of Congress to permanently repeal the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula used to set Medicare physician payments and passage of the 17th patch to the system.

ASCO and the entire physician community worked closely with House and Senate committees to successfully develop and pass an unprecedented bipartisan, bicameral policy to reform the broken Medicare physician payment system. We are disappointed that this remarkable progress and hope for real change has been cast aside by partisan politics over paying for the cost of repeal. The failure of Congress to repeal SGR and to instead move forward with yet another SGR patch represents a threat to physician practices and the access of Medicare beneficiaries to high-quality, affordable cancer care. It is not a solution and simply means that we will face this crisis next year for an 18th time.

The U.S. cancer system simply cannot continue to meet the growing needs of patients with cancer unless fundamental, systemic change is enacted. Congressional committees agreed on this widely supported legislation, H.R. 4015/S. 2000, which would have repealed the SGR and made meaningful progress toward addressing many of the challenges outlined in ASCO’s recently released State of Cancer Care in America: 2014  report, including disparities in access to care and the closure or consolidation of small practices that serve more than one-third of cancer patients throughout the United States.

Although we are dismayed that elected leaders threw away an unprecedented opportunity to resolve a longstanding problem, ASCO will continue to press Congress to do its job by repealing the SGR formula and replacing it with a more stable and rational system that ensures access to high-quality cancer care for all Medicare beneficiaries.

For the latest developments, please visit ASCO’s SGR Web page at www.asco.org/advocacy/repeal-sgr-formula-now 



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