Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), cancer survivors were at the mercy of the health care system, often forced to pay exorbitant premiums or simply denied coverage altogether. Today, America’s 16 million cancer survivors benefit from the ACA’s patient protections that are critical to providing them with quality, affordable, and accessible health care coverage. NCCS is actively engaged in advocating to ensure this unprecedented access for cancer patients and providers continues.

Last week at a press conference after the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was pulled from the House floor, Paul Ryan said, “The ACA is the law of the land for the foreseeable future.” But this week lawmakers signaled that the fight is far from over. Republican leadership vowed to restart negotiations for repealing the ACA.

While Republicans might try to resurrect repeal and replace, they could in the meantime focus on administrative avenues to undermine the ACA and the marketplace:

  • They may use a waiver process to allow states to undercut the ACA, and they can continue to not enforce the individual mandate, a critical component to the law that helps to stabilize the marketplace.
  • The administration could also use regulations to weaken the ACA by pulling back on cost-sharing subsidies. A pending court case, House v. Price, could blow up insurance markets across the country with cost-sharing payments the federal government makes to insurance companies to help cover the cost of low-income people in the crosshairs.
  • The House Freedom Caucus this week also targeted the ACA’s essential health benefits, and its community rating provisions, which if eliminated would destroy the ACA and its insurance reforms.

NCCS wants to ensure the stability of the marketplace, so that cancer survivors can continue to purchase affordable insurance. We are concerned that administrative actions could increase premiums, cause insurers to leave the marketplace, and negatively impact access to health care for millions. Cancer survivors need access to affordable and quality health care, and Congress should work to ensure the ACA is in place for those who need it the most. The Medicaid expansion was a critical piece of the ACA in covering millions more Americans and giving them access to critical health coverage. Under the ACA, 32 States expanded Medicaid, and now several, including Kansas, are rushing to expand now that the ACA is at risk of repeal.

Although Republicans in Congress are likely planning to take another run at repealing the ACA, no new proposals have been presented yet. Therefore, it is critical that advocates remain engaged and advocate for a bipartisan solution that would strengthen and build upon progress of the ACA. Continuing to share stories of cancer survivors who have benefited from the ACA is a great way to illustrate the importance of the law and how it has given patients unprecedented protections and access to health care. The AHCA would have been devastating for cancer survivors. Calls and engagement from patients across the country helped stop the bill – but our job is far from over! We need to keep the momentum going and the message loud: The ACA is not perfect, but is it a step in the right direction and we need to strengthen the law, not repeal it.

NCCS will continue to monitor the process and we will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, April 6 to give an update on where the law stands and the potential outcomes for the future of the ACA. Sign up for our newsletter to be notified of this and future NCCS webinars.

Learn more about the ACA, including tips for contacting your lawmakers »