Oncologists lose appeal over Medicare payment cuts

An oncologist group has lost a bid to have a court review its legal challenge to an automatic 2 percent cut in Medicare reimbursement that began seven years ago for intravenous cancer treatments and other drugs, according to Bloomberg Law

Judge Gregory Katsas, writing on behalf of a unanimous panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, said Feb. 16 that federal courts do not have jurisdiction over the lawsuit filed by Community Oncology Alliance. The decision came after a lower court dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction. 

On appeal, Community Oncology Alliance argued that the district court had subject-matter jurisdiction, but the panel of appellate judges disagreed. The judges affirmed the lower court's decision, stating neither the Balanced Budget Act nor Medicare statutes give federal courts jurisdiction over the lawsuit. 

The judges also noted that Community Oncology Alliance failed to present sufficient information to support its claims that its members would be harmed by the ongoing cuts to Medicare Part B drug payments. The court said the group failed to provide specific reimbursement claim numbers, claim amounts or other information that would allow the court or HHS to determine whether claims should be reviewed. 

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