In order to bring you the latest cancer-related health care policy and news, we at NCCS combined our ACA Updates and What Caught Our Eye (WCOE) content into a weekly email and blog post. We aim to make this a concise, one-stop summary of what you need to know as we continue working together to make cancer care better for everyone.

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HHS Proposes Rule Requiring Drug Pricing in TV Ads

On Monday, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar announced that HHS introduced a proposed rule to require direct-to-consumer television advertisements for prescription drugs include pricing information. According to the proposed rule, drugs paid for by Medicare or Medicaid must include the list price of the drug if it costs more than $35 for a month’s supply or the usual course of therapy.

Kaiser Health News reports that while this proposal is being endorsed by some groups for attempting to improve transparency, it is criticized by many others for not doing anything to drive down the actual cost of drugs. Further, many patient advocates, including NCCS, fear the new requirements could be confusing for patients due to vast differences in patients’ insurance plans and pharmacy benefits. There is also concern that this approach might inflict sticker shock to patients, especially cancer patients, and they may avoid talking to their care team about a treatment or cause them to avoid a certain treatment all together.


1,495 Americans Describe the Financial Reality of Being Really Sick

The New York Times


States Act to Safeguard Young Cancer Patients’ Chances to Have Children

Via Kaiser Health News

Many young adult cancer survivors are faced with the challenge of making some difficult choices in fertility preservation before starting treatment. Slowly, state by state, we are seeing some progress to include this benefit in insurance plans.

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Hiding My Cancer Under the Hijab

Via New York Times Well Blog

Saema Khandaker, a cancer survivor and physician, writes a beautiful essay on the intersection of being a cancer patient and identity.

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Cartoons Offer a Peek into Cancer Immunotherapy—and Scientists’ Minds

Via STAT News

Check out the collection of cartoons that author Neil Canavan has collected over the past two years from scientists illustrating cancer immunotherapy.

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Republicans Are Suddenly Running Ads on Pre-existing Conditions. But How Accurate Are They?

Via New York Times Upshot

Pre-existing conditions protections are critical for cancer survivors and for the past two years, these protections and the ACA have been continuously threatened. As the midterm elections approach, more and more candidates on both sides of the aisle are pledging to protect individuals with pre-existing conditions, but not all of their records indicate they would follow through on their rhetoric and actually preserve these protections. Check out this article on candidates and their legislative record on pre-existing condition protections.

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Widening Divide Between Medicaid Expansion and Non-Expansion States

Via Protect Our Care

As the fight for Medicaid Expansion lives on in several states, the release of a new U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report reinforces what many already know—that people in states that have not expanded Medicaid have compromised access to health care.

The new GAO report is not only a call to action for states that haven’t expanded Medicaid yet, it’s a call for change in leadership. Medicaid expansion is front and center in many competitive governor’s races around the country, and this report shows why: Your ability to access medical care when you need it shouldn’t depend on who you are, how much money you make or what your ZIP code is, but unfortunately that’s the reality for far too many Americans living in states that refuse to expand Medicaid.

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