ASCO Releases Principles for Patient-Centered Health-Care Reform



ASCO has released the “ASCO Principles for Patient-Centered Health-Care 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 the new Congress and Administration, so, as they consider the critical underpinnings of any health-care reform proposal, the needs of patients facing a cancer diagnosis are met.


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.
— Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FACP, FASCO

“As always, ASCO is committed to improving patient access and quality care and to working with policymakers to help achieve this goal,” said 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.”

As legislators weigh different health-care reform options, ASCO offers the following recommendations as a framework for strengthening the cancer care delivery system:

1) 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 preexisting condition limitations, elimination of annual and lifetime coverage caps, and maintenance of guaranteed renewability should be preserved.

2) Any efforts to reform the health-care system at the national, state, or local levels should ensure that individuals with health insurance can continue to access affordable insurance without ­interruption. 

3) 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.

4) Policymakers should, in any policy changes, promote and protect cancer prevention and screening services, as they are key to reducing cancer mortality. Policy makers should preserve the “no copay” access to screening services that currently exists.

5) All patients should have meaningful access to clinical trials, and health insurance coverage should not be a barrier to clinical trials participation.

6) 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.

7) Health-care reform efforts should engage patients and providers to obtain meaningful input in order to avoid unintended consequences during implementation. ■



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