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.
During two Senate HELP committee hearings this week on stabilizing the ACA market, two panels of insurance commissioners and governors agreed that funding cost-sharing reduction payments were critical in keeping insurers in the marketplace and avoiding premium increases of 20% or more. As we reported previously, CSR payments compensate insurers for the discounts they are mandated under Obamacare to provide on out-of-pocket costs for lower-income customers. Both panels also suggested that reinsurance—payments to insurers to help pay claims for high-cost enrollees—would be a necessary component to stabilizing the market and making health care affordable. NCCS applauds Senators Alexander and Murray for convening these bipartisan hearings and encouraging an insightful dialogue about ways to move forward. At the moment, however, Republicans and Democrats have yet to agree on specifics, and it remains uncertain whether even a narrow stabilization bill will pass.

But while many are focused on stabilizing the ACA market, several Republicans are still focused on gutting the law, specifically Senators Graham and Cassidy. The two Senators have proposed a bill that would cut ACA funding by a third and gut the Medicaid program, with the most drastic cuts to states that expanded Medicaid. The Graham-Cassidy proposal would be more severe than any other ACA repeal bills that were considered and failed earlier this year. On Wednesday, Senator McCain told a reporter that he would support the Graham-Cassidy plan to repeal the ACA, but then later clarified by saying that he supports the bill in concept, but hasn’t seen a final product.

Today, at a bipartisan event hosted by the American Enterprise Institute and the Center for American Progress , Governors Hickenlooper and Kasich discussed their joint plan to stabilize the country’s health insurance markets. The plan was created from a set of principles the two men wrote about in a Washington Post op-ed, in which they said another one-party health care plan is “doomed to fail,” just like the Republican plans considered this year. In the op-ed, they asserted that the best place to start reform efforts is “to restore stability to our nation’s health insurance system.” A major concern of this proposal is its openness to eliminate ACA guardrails and essential health benefits. During the event today, Governor Kasich said that states should have more flexibility with benefit design because young, health Americans don’t need as comprehensive coverage as others in the market. As cancer survivors know all too well, no one plans on being diagnosed with cancer and having comprehensive health insurance is critical for the more than 1.5 million Americans who were diagnosed in 2017.

NCCS will continues to analyze these proposals and others and provide further updates as necessary. It’s important to remember that not only has the ACA provided cancer survivors with unprecedented patient protections and has provided millions of Americans with quality and affordable health care, but it is also growing in popularity and most Americans want to work to improve the law, not repeal it.

For more information on how you can get involved, check out our #ProtectOurCare page »

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