The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) on January 11, 2017 released 7 principles for patient-centered healthcare reform. The principles provide guidance to the new Congress and Administration as they consider the needs of people with cancer and discuss the future of health care in the United States.
Increasing patient access to quality care, avoiding insurance coverage gaps, and the importance of screening and prevention services underpin the society’s 7 guidelines, summarized below:
- All Americans should have access to affordable care
- Reform efforts should ensure no disruption in care
- Delivery of high-quality cancer care by a cancer specialist
- Promotion and protection of cancer screening and prevention
- Access to clinical trials
- Value-based care
- Patient engagement in cancer care
ASCO notes that people with cancer with no or insufficient health insurance experience delays in obtaining care, receive less care, and have poorer outcomes than individuals with better insurance coverage. Uninsured and underinsured families facing a diagnosis of cancer often are unable to meet out-of-pocket financial costs and sometimes forgo cancer care in order to pay other bills. The uninsured and underinsured also suffer significant stress as a result of their situation.
The principles outline ASCO’s recommendations for healthcare reform as they pertain to people with cancer, and hopefully Congress and the incoming Administration will be listening. The principles are available here