What Caught Our Eye (WCOE), February 9, 2018
What Caught Our Eye is our week-in-review blog series, where we recap the cancer policy articles, studies, and stories that caught our attention.

Affordable Care Act

“After Approving Medicaid Work Requirements, Trump HHS Aims for Lifetime Coverage Limits”

By Tony Pugh, McClatchy NewsAfter allowing states to impose work requirements for Medicaid enrollees, the trump administration is now pondering lifetime limits on adults’ access to coverage.

Capping health care benefits — like federal welfare benefits — would be a first for Medicaid, the joint state-and-federal health plan for low-income and disabled Americans.
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“Despite Changes That Undermined ACA Enrollment, Marketplaces ‘Remarkably Stable’”

By Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health NewsAfter much drama leading to this year’s open enrollment for Affordable Care Act coverage — a shorter time frame, a sharply reduced federal budget for marketing and assistance, and confusion resulting from months of repeal-and-replace debate — the final tally paints a mixed picture.
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“Bipartisan Senate Budget Deal Boosts Health Programs”

By Julie Rovner, NPRIn a rare show of bipartisanship for the mostly polarized 115th Congress, Republican and Democratic Senate leaders announced a two-year budget deal that would increase federal spending for defense as well as key domestic priorities, including many health programs.
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Coping With Cancer

“Talking to Doctors about your Bucket List Could Help Advance Care Planning”

Stanford Medicine NewsA Stanford study has found that a majority of people make bucket lists and suggests they can be useful in doctor-patient discussions about care plans.
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Cancer and Health Care Costs

“Price Transparency for Whom? In Search of Out-of-Pocket Cost Estimates to Facilitate Cost Communication in Cancer Care”

By Ya-Chen Tina Shih, Shelley Fuld Nasso, and S. Yousuf Zafar, PharmacoEconomicsHigh costs of cancer drugs have repeatedly provoked a public outcry over affordability of cancer care in news media and journal articles. Especially for patients diagnosed with cancer in the United States, the sustained increase in the cost of cancer care is believe to cause tremendous distress for patients and their families to the extent that the term ‘financial toxicity’ has been used to describe patients’ cost-related experiences, and coping strategies are being discussed.
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“Association of Patient Out-of-Pocket Costs with Prescription Abandonment and Delay in Fills of Novel Oral Anticancer Agents”

ASCO’s Journal of Clinical OncologyThe number of novel oral anticancer agents is increasing, but financial barriers may limit access. We examined associations between out-of-pocket (OOP) costs and reduced and/or delayed treatment initiation.
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“Is Federal Policy Really To Blame For The High Cost of Cancer Care?”

By Peter Ubel, Forbes.comU.S. healthcare costs have been high for decades, outpacing other developed countries since at least the 1980s. But costs continue to rise, and that is causing many experts to ask why. Some people blame federal policies. As an example, they point to reimbursement policies that create incentives for healthcare providers to consolidate. When hospitals merge with each other, or when hospitals buy out physician practices, healthcare providers gain negotiating leverage over insurers, which enables them to negotiate higher prices.
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“Drugs Don’t Work If People Can’t Afford Them: The High Price of Tisagenlecleucel”

Via Health Affairs BlogIn a system in which life-saving drugs are developed with direct and indirect taxpayer support and afforded market protection through government-granted exclusivities, patients deserve to know how drug manufacturers are arriving at ever-higher prices for their products. Without such information—and subsequent policy reforms based on it—treatment will become increasingly unaffordable. Sadly, for many Americans, it already has; 21 percent of 1,204 respondents in a December 2016 Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation survey reported that they or a family member did not fill a prescription in the past year because of cost.
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