HEALTH CARE HIGHLIGHT
NCCS Meets with Senate Offices to Share Serious Concerns Regarding New CMS Waiver Guidance
This week, NCCS and other organizations in the Cancer Leadership Council participated in meetings with Senate offices to discuss the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) recent waiver guidance. This guidance would permit states to pursue waivers that would undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its patient protections. As we reported last week, these waiver concepts are layered on guidance that made dramatic changes to the ACA’s “guardrails,” which are key requirements and standards for health coverage under the law.
In the meetings with Senate offices, NCCS articulated the impact that these changes could have on cancer patients if states pursue these waivers. For example, the waiver guidance would allow states to use ACA subsidies to pay for short-term, limited duration plans, considered to be "junk plans" by many experts. Many of these plans do not cover necessary treatments if individuals are newly diagnosed with cancer. The use of these plans would also bifurcate the ACA marketplace and raise premiums for those with current marketplace plans. NCCS also urged Senate offices to consider a bipartisan agreement aimed at reducing ACA premiums and stabilizing the market.
This Hill article helps clearly outline what has and hasn’t changed over the past year in the health care marketplace, especially when it comes to short-term plans.
CHART OF THE WEEK
by The Commonwealth Fund
This chart once again shows the stark contrast of how much the United States has spent on health care over the past forty years compared to other industrialized nations. Despite this massive discrepancy, many would argue that the return on investment for patient outcomes continues to be very concerning.
Despite spending $3.5 trillion on health care in 2017, this Axios article provides a succinct overview of how health care continues to fall short in this country, especially when it comes to the nation’s hospitals.
We have mentioned in several recent Health Care Roundups about the numerous waivers being put forth by the Trump administration that states can use to sidestep the Affordable Care Act. This article walks us through what it would look like for patients in states who do adopt some of these waiver policies. Spoiler alert: prices would likely go way up for those staying in the ACA marketplaces, with most of them likely having pre-existing conditions.
The Washington Post
An interesting article that looks at the stereotypes and biases of providers and researchers that can impact the treatment of patients who are married vs. single.
The Houston Chronicle
Former President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush lost their daughter, Robin, to leukemia in 1953, when she was three years old. The article discusses how such a loss impacted them for the rest of their lives, and their relationship. Such a tragic loss was also a motivating factor that led both Pres. and Mrs. Bush to be life-long cancer advocates, raising money for research and serving in various volunteer capacities at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas.