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Coverage Urged

There are more and more calls for Medicare and Medicaid to cover genome sequencing of tumors, Stat News reports.

It adds that these calls have increased with the announcement in the State of the Union for a "moonshot" to cure cancer. The issue, it says, and has come up in private meetings with Vice President Joe Biden, who is leading that effort, and at the World Economic Forum.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services generally doesn't cover genome sequencing and this, Amy Miller, executive vice president of the Personalized Medicine Coalition, says leads to a "weird juxtaposition with the White House and the vice president loving personalized medicine" while "CMS often does not pay for it."

Stat News notes that the holdup is convincing insurers and CMS that sequencing is part of "reasonable and necessary" care. Whether Biden and the moonshot project can or will urge CMS to pay for it is unclear, it adds.

"This is one of the many ideas proposed in the some two dozen listening sessions the VP and his staff have convened," a Biden aide tells Stat News. "As the VP formally convenes government leaders, they will consider this idea along with many others."