Affordable Care Act Resources

Affordable Care Act - #ProtectOurCare

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 continues.

On this page we provide regular updates on this ongoing debate, what it means for cancer survivors, and how survivors and advocates can make their voices heard.

Current Status January 10: Long-Term CHIP Funding Is Still Up in the Air

It has been over 100 days since Congress failed to pass long-term funding for CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program). Over 9 million children rely on CHIP for their medical care, including being treated for cancer.

Call (844) 257-6227 and tell your Member of Congress: no more excuses. Save CHIP and pass a long-term funding bill now.

For more details and background on the CHIP bill, read Vox.com’s article: “Congress let CHIP’s funding expire 101 days ago, and it’s a national disgrace”.


How Can I Get Involved?

Contact/Meet Your Members of Congress
Whether you attend a town hall event in your district, set up an in-person meeting with the district office, or call your Member, every effort is vital in saving our care. Did you know it takes on average only SEVEN phone calls for Members of Congress to flag an issue?

Take Action

Call Your Senators

NCCS has set up a toll-free number so you can easily call and be directly connected to the offices of your Senators. Call your Senators at (844) 257-6227 and urge them to oppose repeal of the medical expense deduction and the individual mandate.  We must work on constructive solutions that improve our health care system for all Americans.

Meet Your Members of Congress In Person

Meet with your Members of Congress at district events. Find a town hall meeting near you »

Check out our printable PDF tip sheet to help you prepare for calls, meetings, and town hall events. The sheet also contains sample questions to ask your Members of Congress.

NCCS Is Here to Help

We are happy to assist you in these advocacy efforts to support cancer patients and survivors. If you are interested in scheduling a meeting either in your local Congressional office or in Washington DC, please email our Public Policy Manager, Lindsay Houff, at lhouff@canceradvocacy.org.

Another important way you can make your voice heard is through op-eds in local newspapers. NCCS would love to help you draft an op-ed and provide instructions on getting the article published.

Social Media

Engage with Members of Congress on their social media platforms. Comment on their Facebook pages, or tweet directly at them (use the hashtag #ProtectOurCare). They and their staff DO pay attention to these things.

C-Span’s List of Congressional Twitter Handles »


Do you have questions or need assistance? We can help you set up meetings with your Members of Congress.
Please contact Lindsay Houff, Manager of Policy at lhouff@canceradvocacy.org.


ACA Status Updates

AHCA

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.
Earlier this week, NCCS’ CEO Shelley Fuld Nasso and Public Policy Manager Lindsay Houff hosted a Facebook Live health care policy update. They discussed legislative priorities for 2018 that impact cancer survivors and how you can help us advocate.

NCCS Facebook Live – Intro to 2018

NCCS discusses the latest health care developments and takes your questions.

Posted by National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship on Wednesday, 10 January 2018

 
The year has started out with several big health care proposals, so here’s a quick run down of what to keep your eye on.

Medicaid Work Requirements

On Thursday, the Trump administration released a 10-page memo outlining directions about how states can change Medicaid to include work requirements. Jane Perkins, legal director for the National Health Law Program, commented to Kaiser Health News:

“We believe that the work requirement is indeed a problem because it is not consistent with Medicaid’s objectives” to furnish medical assistance, she said. “Programs that assist people in finding and keeping work are effective, not programs that penalize them by stopping health insurance or blocking them from getting health coverage in the first place.”

NCCS is concerned about this policy’s impact on cancer patients and survivors. As Health Affairs reported last April, nearly 5 million enrollees could be at risk of losing their health insurance if a work requirement is implemented, and this includes individuals with serious health problems such as cancer. It is being reported that at least 10 states are interested in applying these work requirements, with Kentucky’s request being approved by CMS earlier today.

NCCS is concerned that work requirements will result in health care being denied to thousands of low-income people, and opposes any work requirements that do not include defined exemptions for people who cannot work due to illness, such as cancer treatment, or caregiving responsibilities. NCCS will continue to monitor these developments and their impacts on those living with cancer.

CHIP Negotiations Continue

Lawmakers also continue to debate how long to fund CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program). Democrats are pushing for a permanent reauthorization of CHIP, after a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report said it would save the federal government $6 billion over the next decade. Republicans are considering including a funding extension of at least five years for CHIP in a stopgap spending bill to fund the government past Jan. 19. CHIP, a federal-state matching program, serves nearly nine million moderate- to low-income children, including pediatric cancer survivors. Time is of the essence, as several states report money for the program could run out in February.

Please use our hotline to contact your Representatives and ask them to fund CHIP immediately. Simply call (844) 257-6227 to be connected to your Member.


Related Posts


AHCA

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.

Not surprisingly, 2018 has started out with a bang and there are significant health care changes already in the works or coming down the pike. In this week’s Affordable Care Act Update, we lay out these changes and how they impact cancer survivors.

Individual Mandate Repeal

At the end of December, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which included the repeal of the individual mandate. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that 13 million fewer Americans will have insurance coverage over the next decade with repeal of the mandate. In addition, it was projected that premiums would increase by 10% because the pool of individuals purchasing insurance would be sicker and more expensive to insure. As Politico reports, by eliminating the mandate, which requires those who opt out of coverage to pay a penalty, Republicans have finally notched a significant legislative victory in their years-long crusade against Obamacare. President Donald Trump has said that Congress has “essentially repealed” the 2010 health care law. However, this is not accurate as the core provisions in the ACA remain in place, which include protections against pre-existing conditions, lifetime and annual spending caps, Medicaid expansion, and health insurance tax credits.

With repeal of the individual mandate, health care experts continue to debate the future of the ACA. Some think individual mandate repeal poses a serious challenge to the stability of health insurance markets, and that cost-sharing reduction payments and reinsurance funding are critical to providing relief and stability to the markets. Other experts think that the ACA marketplaces are more stable than previously thought and that the mandate repeal will only have a limited impact. All agree that there are some states where the marketplaces have vulnerabilities, even if overall the marketplaces are strong. We should get a better sense of the impact as insurance companies begin to announce their coverage plans over the next few months.

Threat of ACA Repeal Remains

Almost immediately after passage of the tax bill, reports of health coverage signups through the ACA enrollment period ending December 15, 2017, were released. To date, nearly 9 million Americans enrolled in insurance plans. This total is just slightly lower than the previous year’s enrollment of 9.2 million, despite the fact that this enrollment period was cut in half and millions of dollars in funding were cut for advertising and insurance counselors.

Despite another successful ACA enrollment period, Republican Members of Congress have very different views on what is next for the ACA in 2018. In an interview with NPR soon after the tax bill was passed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that it was time for the Senate to move on from additional efforts to repeal the ACA. On the other hand, Senator Lindsay Graham – the proponent of one of several repeal and replace measures considered by the Senate – challenged Leader McConnell and urged another attempt to repeal ACA.

Association Health Plans

Yesterday, the administration released proposed rules regarding Association Health Plans. The expansion of so-called association health plans is part of a broader effort to encourage the rise of cheaper coverage options that are exempt from certain Obamacare patient protections and benefit rules. However, lax rules could open the door to a new wave of poorly regulated health plans that exclude coverage of key services required by the Affordable Care Act, such as hospitalizations and prescription drugs.

“Any one of those steps in isolation wouldn’t necessarily destabilize the markets, but the combination of all these actions is likely to make insurers very nervous,” said Larry Levitt, senior vice president for health reform at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “The ultimate risk is that more insurers decide that the market is too risky and they exit, leaving counties with no options at all.”

AHPs pose a very serious threat to cancer patients and survivors. Because they are not required to cover essential health benefits, they may pull away younger and healthier people, leaving those with pre-existing conditions who need essential health benefit coverage to potentially pay higher costs.

When the time comes, we will be calling on you to be in touch with House and Senate offices to urge action to protect the ACA and oppose any that does not include consumer and patient protections.


Related Posts


AHCA

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.
Early Wednesday morning, the House and Senate passed the Republican tax plan, and the bill was signed into law by the president on Friday. NCCS monitored the tax bill closely as it contains several provisions that will impact health care. Namely, it eliminates the individual mandate, which the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated will result in the loss of health coverage for 13 million Americans and an increase of 10% in premiums.

During his speech on the tax bill, the president stated that Congress essentially repealed the ACA by getting rid of the individual mandate. This is not the case. In fact, as Politico explains, the individual mandate is only part of the ACA. It wasn’t even included in the original health care plan that Barack Obama unveiled during the 2008 campaign.

The mandate did become an important element of the ACA, and the only specific element that a majority of the public opposed. But the more generous elements of the program—like a major expansion of Medicaid, significant government subsidies for private insurance premiums, and strict protections for pre-existing conditions—are still popular, and still the law of the land.

Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation said, “The death of Obamacare has been exaggerated. Eliminating the mandate creates uncertainty, but all the benefits for people remain in place.” The individual mandate helped to bring a large, diverse population to the health care markets, making it more feasible to provide patients with the popular benefits. Time will tell what its repeal will do to the long-term stability and affordability of health insurance.

NCCS also closely monitored and met with Members of Congress to ask them to protect the medical expense deduction, which would have been eliminated in the original House proposal. NCCS joined AARP in a letter to leadership asking to retain this critical deduction that millions of Americans with high health care needs and low incomes utilize. We are pleased that the deduction remains intact and the threshold for qualifying for the deduction was actually lowered to 7.5%, compared to 10%.

NCCS Thanks You For Your Advocacy

As we head into the holiday recess, we want to express our deep gratitude to advocates for your countless phone calls, emails, district meetings, op-eds, and for sharing your stories in order to protect health care for cancer patients and survivors across the U.S.

In the beginning of the year, the president and Congress promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act and thanks to your hard work and advocacy, the millions who rely on the ACA for their health coverage are still protected by the law as we head into 2018. However, our work is far from over as the new year poses many challenges to programs that ensure cancer patients have access to health care and we will continue to advocate on your behalf every day.


AHCA

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.
Today is the last day of open enrollment for the ACA for 2018 plans. Most people can find plans for less than $75 a month. If you are auto enrolled into a plan because your insurer exited the market, you are allowed more time through a special enrollment period. Sign up at www.healthcare.gov. If you have questions or need any help signing up, call the official help line at 1-800-318-2596.

This week, the House and Senate continued to conference – or negotiate the differences between their two versions of the tax bill – and reports indicate the two chambers have struck a deal. Unfortunately, this deal includes the repeal of the individual mandate. NCCS met with Senator Susan Collins’ office this week to request that she oppose the tax bill as long it includes repealing the individual mandate, which would threaten important patient protections for cancer patients and survivors. Repealing the individual mandate would also result in 13 million fewer Americans having health coverage, and raise premiums by 10 percent.

Senator Collins voted in favor of the tax bill with the condition that two stabilization bills will be passed before the year ends in order to offset the negative impacts of repealing the individual mandate. One bill, known as Alexander-Murray, would temporarily restore cost sharing subsidies to insurers. The second bill, Collins-Nelson, would fund a two-year reinsurance program helping health plans cover particularly expensive patients. As we reported last week, these two stabilizing bills would not offset the expected premium increases as a result of repealing the individual mandate. Nor would they be able to mitigate the damage repealing the mandate would have on an already unsteady Obamacare market as it would lead to an exodus of healthy people and cause insurers to raise prices to cover the costs.

Congress is running up against the holiday recess and leadership is trying to get this bill through in the next week. There are lots of moving pieces and we will keep you updated as the story develops. Please call your Members of Congress, (202) 224-3121, and ask them to oppose the tax bill because tax reform should not come at the expense of cancer patients.


AHCA

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.

It has been a little over a week since the Senate passed their tax reform bill. As the chambers continue to negotiate the differences between the House and Senate versions, a great deal of uncertainty remains as to the final product, especially as it pertains to health care provisions in the bill. Senator Collins (R-ME) voted in support of the bill with the condition that two stabilization bills pass before the year ends in order to off set the negative impacts of repealing the individual mandate. One bill, known as Alexander-Murray, would temporarily restore cost-sharing subsidies to insurers. The second, Collins-Nelson, would fund a two-year reinsurance program helping health plans cover particularly expensive patients. However, health policy experts are not convinced that these two stabilizing bills would truly mitigate the impact of repealing one of the most important pieces of the Affordable Care Act. In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that repealing the mandate would lead to 13 million people losing their coverage and premiums could rise by 10 percent. It would put more pressure on an already unsteady Obamacare market as it could lead to an exodus of healthy people and cause insurers to raise prices to cover the cost.

The health care community is united in opposition to repeal of the individual mandate, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Medical Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans, American Hospital Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association of America, and the Federation of American Hospitals.

As Bloomberg News reported, it is by no means clear that either of the health care bills Collins bargained for will get anywhere in the House, where conservatives regard the measures with disdain. While the negotiations around the tax bill are shaky, now is a key time to make sure Members of Congress know that the public doesn’t want to repeal the individual mandate. Please call your Members today at (844) 257-6227 and tell them tax reform should not come at the expense of cancer patients.

While this year’s ACA open enrollment is outpacing years past, final numbers are expected to be lower since the Administration has cut the time of enrollment in half. 4.5 million Americans can get covered at NO premium. They must just apply by 12/15. If you, or a friend or family member needs to sign up for health insurance, visit getamericacovered.org today!


Related Posts


AHCA

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.
The Senate on Thursday evening delayed a final vote on the tax bill due to “deficit concerns.” However a vote is expected to occur today, as Senate leaders announced they believe they have the votes necessary. Things fell apart on Thursday when the parliamentarian ruled that a trigger (an increase in taxes if economic growth goals were not met) did not adhere to Senate rules. Senator Corker and others had conditioned their support on the trigger. As they were leaving the Senate floor on Thursday night, some Republican leaders conceded that the bill that would be voted on Friday was still not written.

To make matters worse, the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) reported that the Senate Republicans’ bill would cost $1 trillion even when accounting for economic growth, highlighting the fact that the tax cut legislation would not pay for itself as has been asserted. A Senate vote on the bill is expected today and House leadership said they would quickly conference and pass the bill in their chamber. Time is of the essence and we need to make our voices heard TODAY. Use our hotline (844-257-6227) to contact your Members of Congress and tell them to oppose this bill as it would be harmful to patients.

Previously, the repeal of the individual mandate in the tax bill drove a wedge in the Republican caucus. But Republican leadership promised the Senators (namely Collins and Murkowski) who were concerned about the mandate repeal that they would also pass the Alexander-Murray bill that would fund cost-sharing reduction payments, along with a new reinsurance bill. Although this placated those Senators who had reservations about the mandate repeal, the “stabilization” provisions would be meaningless if the individual mandate is repealed. Repealing the individual mandate would leave 13 million Americans without health insurance and would raise premiums by at least 10%. The mandate ensures that individuals with pre-existing conditions, like cancer, are covered. We remain extremely concerned that the individual mandate repeal is included in the tax bill.

In addition to the individual mandate repeal, the tax bill would trigger sweeping changes to other federal programs that are important for cancer patients and survivors. Sarah Kliff of Vox wrote, “The bill also includes tax cuts so large that they would trigger across-the-board spending cuts — including billions for Medicare. The last time Medicare was hit with cuts like this, patients lost access to critical services like chemotherapy treatment.”

We are also monitoring the elimination or reduction of the medical expense deduction, which is included in the House version of the bill, but not the Senate version. NCCS joined AARP in support of the Collins Amendment to be included in the tax bill. The Collins Amendment would delay the tax increase from 7.5 percent to 10 percent of the income threshold after which medical expenses can be deducted on itemized returns. We support this delay as a needed, immediate step in the right direction to permanently restore the tax threshold for all Americans with high out-of-pocket medical costs.

We will continue to advocate on Capitol Hill to that tax reform does not come at the expense of cancer survivors and their families. Call your Members of Congress today at (844) 257-6227.


Related Posts


AHCA

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.
The tax bill has officially turned into a health care bill.

Last week, we learned the House version of the tax bill would eliminate the medical expense deduction. This deduction is a lifeline for cancer patients who claim it, as cancer care and the enormous out-of-pocket costs associated with it often result in financial toxicity and financial distress. As the LA Times reports, “What’s cruelest about the effort to repeal the medical expense deduction is that it directly targets some of the most vulnerable Americans. They’re people who already are shouldering catastrophic medical expenses, with only the deduction standing between them and poverty.” While the House wanted the deduction gone, the Senate version of the tax bill keeps this critical deduction. If the bills pass, the two chambers will negotiate during conference and in the meantime, NCCS is actively working to ensure the medical expense deduction is not eliminated.

But the tax bill gets worse for cancer patients and survivors. The Senate Finance Committee included the repeal of the individual mandate this week. Throughout the year, NCCS has stressed the importance of the mandate as it is the lynchpin for patient protections. An insurance system without patient protections would be devastating for cancer patients who rely on access to quality and affordable health care. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that if the individual mandate is repealed, 13 million Americans would be left without health coverage and premiums would rise by 10%. But Congressional Republicans are looking for ways to offset tax cuts and taking health care away from 13 million people would save more than $300 billion.

“The individual mandate is a central tenet of Obamacare that health policy experts and proponents say is essential to making the law work. It compels young and healthy people to join health insurance markets and help lower premiums by offsetting the costs of sicker patients,” reports Business Insider. NCCS is also concerned that passage of tax legislation that increases deficits by $1.5 trillion would trigger sequestration. This means that cuts of $25 billion in 2018 to Medicare would be automatic and would hurt cancer patients who rely on Medicare.

Tax reform should not come at the expense of those living with cancer. NCCS joined 29 organizations in a campaign to oppose the repeal of the individual mandate and protect cancer patients’ access to quality and affordable health care. This legislation is moving quickly, so Congress needs to hear from you NOW.

The House voted Thursday afternoon to pass its bill, and the Senate is scheduled to vote soon after Thanksgiving break. Call your Senators today using our hotline at (844) 257-6227 and ask them to stand up for cancer patients by opposing the individual mandate repeal in the tax legislation.

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

Follow NCCS on Twitter to stay updated on developments: @CancerAdvocacy.


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