Republicans will convene a hearing this week on the proposed change to how Medicare pays for drugs prescribed from doctors' offices, and they have invited a vocal opponent of the proposal to testify.
The House Budget Committee hearing titled “Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation: Scoring Assumptions and Real-World Implications,” targets the plan for lowering Medicare Part B payment to doctors from 6% to 2.5% in addition to a drug's average sales price and adding a payment of $16.80 per drug a day.
One of the witnesses is Ted Okron, executive director of the Community Oncology Alliance, which has joined several other industry groups and lawmakers in opposing the proposal. Okron has frequently denounced the Part B change, which would result in lower payments to specialists including oncologists, ophthalmologists and rheumatologists.
“It is an understatement to say that this latest CMS initiative is misguided and a perilous cancer care policy,” he said in a recent statement. “It will only serve to accelerate the consolidation of cancer care into the more expensive hospital setting and undermine the physician-patient collaboration on the treatment of cancer. I thought we were at war on cancer, not cancer care.”
Democrats from the Senate Finance Committee also want to halt the Part B change, saying more research is needed.
In addition to criticizing the Part B proposal, Republicans have targeted the Innovation Center in general. House Republicans have called for winding down the center and for rescinding some of its initial allotment of $10 billion.