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.
On Tuesday, 50 Republican Senators voted in favor of a “motion to proceed,” which opened debate on legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The first of three bills brought to a vote for consideration was a repeal and replace bill, or the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). The BCRA failed to pass with three Republicans voting against it. On Wednesday, a partial repeal bill was brought to a vote and failed, this time with seven Republican Senators voting against it.

The next vote will be on a “skinny repeal” bill, which would eliminate the individual mandate, the employer mandate, and the medical device tax. The most recent version of the skinny repeal bill has not been revealed to the public nor has it been scored by the CBO, but analyses show repealing the individual mandate would have substantial negative effects on the insurance market, causing premiums to increase by 20% and the number of uninsured would rise by at least 16 million. The skinny repeal bill is said to perhaps be a mechanism to get to conference with the House, in order to change the bill then and potentially develop a bill that is even worse.

The process of repealing the ACA is confusing and unpredictable but the outcomes for patients are consistently terrible. Through each iteration of the health care debate, we have called on you to contact your Members of Congress and today we need your help now, more than ever, to protect cancer survivors’ access to quality and affordable health care. The skinny repeal bill being considered in the coming hours would be devastating for cancer patients. It’s not too late for Senators to protect our care and work in a bipartisan way to improve upon the ACA. Please continue to call your Senators and ask them to vote NO on the skinny repeal bill.

If you live in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Nevada, it is even more critical that you call and recruit friends and family to call as well. With a vote looming in the next 24 hours, NOW is the time to make your voice heard and tell Congress that cancer patients deserve better – and VOTE NO on the skinny repeal bill.