Jordan Wildermuth, MSW
Health Policy & Advocacy Manager
HOPA is working hard on Capitol Hill, both individually and with coalitions, to continue to move the needle forward on our health policy priorities. As we go to press, the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act has over 290 cosponsors in the House and over 50 cosponsors in the Senate. HOPA and the Patient Access to Pharmacist Care Coalition are continuing to push for a hearing on the bill in hopes of finding a potential vehicle to move the legislation across the finish line. The same scenario is playing out for the Cancer Drug Coverage Parity Act. There is bipartisan support in both chambers with over 120 cosponsors in the House and 20 cosponsors in the Senate. HOPA continues to work with the Patient Equal Access Coalition in visiting congressional offices to move this bill forward as well. The fate of both bills will be better realized when Congress comes back for the lame-duck session, but the amount of support for both pieces of legislation is tremendous and bodes well for their reintroduction in the 115th Congress if they do not move during this Congress. HOPA member actions have garnered several cosponsors and are still integral as we near crunch time.
On the regulatory side, there continues to be dialogue on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Medicare Part B Drug Payment Model. The Senate Finance Committee convened a hearing in July to question CMS’s chief medical officer on the specifics of the model. In addition, Congressman Larry Buschon, MD (R-IN), introduced a bill that would block implementation of the proposed rule. CMS has indicated that they will not publish a final rule until 2019, which is the latest it could publish by statute. Many opponents of the rule are viewing this as a win, but CMS is still reviewing the public comments that were received and has not indicated whether it will consider tabling the proposed model altogether. HOPA Past President Scott Soefje and representatives from the Oncology Nursing Society and Association of Community Cancer Centers met with CMS to discuss concerns with the proposed rule. The HOPA Board of Directors and Health Policy Committee also discussed the payment model with members of Congress during HOPA’s Hill Day in April.
The Cancer Moonshot Initiative is continuing to unfold. HOPA President Sarah Scarpace Peters attended the Cancer Moonshot Summit in Washington, DC, on June 29, 2016. The summit brought together more than 300 stakeholders to generate ideas about how individuals and organizations can better engage in the Moonshot Initiative, and come up with ideas for new collaborations and actions.