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.

“Healthcare is not dead, we’re still working on it.” – Paul Ryan

During recess this week and last, Members of Congress continued to hear from constituents at town hall events where a major focus has been on health care and backlash against efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Meanwhile, the conservative House Freedom Caucus has been working with moderate Republicans to come up with an amendment to add to the replacement bill, which failed on the House floor last month. This amendment was released this Thursday by Congressman Tom MacArthur and would effectively allow states to opt out of the ACA’s essential health benefits—a list of ten mandatory services including hospitalization, prescription drugs, in-patient care, out-patient care, and many other necessary services.

The amendment would also allow states, through waivers, to opt out of community rating rules which require that states charge sick individuals the same amount as health individuals. This would take us back to the days where insurers could charge people based on their expected health care costs, giving them free reign to charge them especially high premiums. To hear more about the essential health benefits and community rating, watch our ACA Webinar here.

The Congressional Budget Office reported that the Republican replacement plan, The American Health Care Act (AHCA), would have caused 24 million Americans to lose insurance coverage and this amendment would only increase that number since many sick patients would be priced out of the market in states that submit the waivers described above. Many House Republicans are supportive of the ban on preexisting conditions and eliminating community rating would essentially make those protections pointless, so it will likely remain difficult for moderate Republicans to get behind this legislation. The White House is saying the complete text of a new bill is likely to circulate by the weekend in hopes that Congressional leaders will schedule a vote before the president reaches his 100-day mark.

While Republicans continue their internal battle over the future of the ACA, NCCS remains on the front lines making sure the cancer survivor’s voice is present during the debate. Please contact your Members of Congress today to share your story and let them know that the ACA works and should be repaired, not replaced.

We are speaking out on behalf of the more than 16 million cancer survivors in America who deserve better than these legislative proposals that would be harmful to patients.

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