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.

Status 6/27: The Department of Justice (DoJ) determined that it will NOT defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the lawsuit filed by the state of Texas and several other states. (Read More here.) If the position of the DoJ is upheld by the courts, the pre-existing condition protections that are critically important to cancer patients will be eliminated.

On June 27, a number of NCCS CPAT advocates and others with pre-existing conditions participated in a press conference highlighting how vital these protections are for patients with chronic illness. Thank you to NCCS CPAT Members Randy Broad and Jamie Ledezma for sharing their story. Watch the press conference stream »


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

We aim to make the Health Care Roundup a concise, one-stop summary of what you need to know as we continue working together to make cancer care better for everyone.Your feedback is always welcome to make our content more useful to you. Please send comments to feedback@canceradvocacy.org.

Subscribe to our email list and receive these updates in your email box »


HEALTH CARE HIGHLIGHTS

House Members Solicit Public Input on "Cures 2.0" Bill

Representatives Fred Upton (R-MI) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) released a request for public input on a potential new bill they are calling “Cures 2.0” which would build on the 21st Century Cures Act. The duo says this legislation would focus on improving patients' access to digital health products and new medical therapies. The bill would speed up insurance coverage by Medicare, Medicaid, and private payers for new FDA-approved drugs and devices, and would increase the use of real-world evidence in FDA’s regulatory approval process. The proposed legislation also aims to improve family caregivers’ health literacy. They requested input on the bill by December 16, 2019.

Oncologist Stephen Hahn Confirmed as FDA Chief

Yesterday, the Senate voted 72-18 to confirm Stephen Hahn, MD, as the new Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). E-cigarettes were a focus of his confirmation hearings last month. Hahn’s background is in radiation oncology, with specializations in treating lung cancer and sarcoma. He most recently served as MD Anderson Cancer Center’s chief medical officer.

Congress Reaches Deal on "Surprise Billing" Bill

On Sunday evening, leaders of several key health care committees announced they had come to an agreement on “Surprise Billing” legislation. As Vox reports, the legislation may be included in the end-of-year government spending bill that must pass before December 20. Now that the committees have hashed out a deal, it falls on House and Senate leaders to figure out the path forward. However, just yesterday, the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday put out its own, “rival” proposal to protect patients from surprise medical bills. This proposal could throw a wrench into a speedy passage of the deal struck last weekend. The measure from Ways and Means would take a different approach in that it would first let insurers and doctors try to work out payment on their own, and if they cannot come to agreement, an arbitration process would begin. Full text was not yet available. As The Hill reports, the Energy and Commerce proposal, in contrast, relies in large part on essentially setting a payment rate based on the average price for that service in the geographic area.

House Passes Drug Pricing Bill, H.R. 3

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3, the Democrats’ drug pricing legislation. The bill was passed largely along party lines. The legislation would allow the government to directly negotiate drug prices for Medicare recipients as well as others purchasing drugs. However, the debate is far from over, with the Senate still considering a separate drug pricing package and President Trump vowing to veto H.R. 3 if it makes it to his desk.


CHART OF THE WEEK

Potential Impact of Texas v. U.S. Decision on Key Provisions of the Affordable Care Act

Kaiser Family Foundation

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to rule on the ACA lawsuit any day now. If the court confirms the decision to invalidate the ACA, the entire law — including pre-existing conditions protections — would be struck down. Kaiser Family Foundation recently released an analysis showing that rolling back the ACA would affect nearly everyone. Check out their chart to see how it could impact you.

Support NCCS while shopping on Amazon. A portion of your Amazon purchases will be donated to NCCS when you choose NCCS as your AmazonSmile charity. Get started »

IMPORTANT READS

M.R.I.s Can Better Detect Cancer in Women with Dense Breasts, Study Finds

New York Times

A large study found that MRIs detected tumors missed by mammograms, cutting interval cancers by half or more. Just under half of women over the age of 40 have dense breasts, which means they have more connective and fibrous tissue.

Read More »

From the Ground Up

CURE Today

Cancer survivor Dana Stewart shares how she rebuilt her life after a breast cancer diagnosis nine years ago.

“The decent news is that you can pick yourself up off the ground and change the view. It’s tough and scary and frustrating and so on and so on. It is, however, possible. I took the approach of letting my cancer diagnosis change my viewpoint. Granted, this happened after lots of crying, screaming and angry tears.”

Read More »

Depression Affects One-Third of Lung Cancer Patients

Ohio State News

Roughly one-third of patients diagnosed with lung cancer have moderate to severe symptoms of depression, a new study suggests. The lead author of the study says, “Some oncologists may have a mindset that ‘of course, you’re depressed, you have lung cancer.’ This may show an under-appreciation of the breadth of depressive symptoms and other difficulties which accompany it.”

Read More »

Surprise Billing Legislation Explained

Vox

There have been quite a few surprises with the "surprise billing" legislation. First, it seemed like it couldn’t be done with hospitals and doctors lobbying hard against the legislation. Then, lawmakers struck a bipartisan deal over the weekend, and now a new “rival” proposal to adds to the surprises.

Read More »


Related Posts

Health Care Roundup: ACA Open Enrollment and “Junk” Insurance; E-Cigarette Ban; Integrative Oncology; FDA Breast Implant Warning; More

Health Care Roundup: Drug Pricing Bill Advances; ACA Open Enrollment & Premium Data; Cancer Overdiagnosis; “Medicaid Haves and Have-Nots”; More

We aim to make the Health Care Roundup a concise, one-stop summary of what you need to know as we continue working together to make cancer care better for everyone.Your feedback is always welcome to make our content more useful to you. Please send comments to feedback@canceradvocacy.org.

Subscribe to our email list and receive these updates in your email box »


HEALTH CARE HIGHLIGHTS

Congress Passes Spending Bill

Yesterday, Congress approved a stopgap spending bill that would avert a government shutdown, but only until December 20. Until then, funding will be available for all federal government departments and agencies, as well as a number of health care community programs. The divide in Congress remains around the border wall, the same issue that led to last year’s government shutdown.

ACA Open Enrollment, "Junk" Insurance Plans

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Healthcare.gov marketplace is in full swing. After major technical glitches, in addition to cuts to enrollment marketing and assistance, the number of enrollees is down this year from past years. As the Washington Post reports, the administration is also redirecting some Healthcare.gov users to private insurance exchanges that sell “junk” health plans — short-term limited duration plans that do not include the ACA’s patient protections such as requiring coverage for pre-existing conditions.

From the Washington Post:

Critics say that both the sale of short-term plans through private brokers and consumers’ ability to select such plans are the latest examples of Trump administration efforts to weaken the ACA after failing to repeal and replace the law in Congress…The rule allowing the sale of such plans was finalized late last year, just weeks before open enrollment, so this is the first year they are widely available.

NCCS opposed the expansion of short-term limited duration plans. Read more about why these plans are harmful for patients. »

Ban on Flavored E-Cigarettes

President Trump will meet with vaping industry executives and public health advocates today to discuss a ban on non-tobacco flavored e-cigarettes. The administration has wavered in its support for a ban on flavored e-cigarettes, but with recent reports and mounting evidence that they lead to vaping-related lung illnesses, the President has called a meeting with key stakeholders to address the problem.

Vaping was also a focus during the Senate confirmation hearing this week for Dr. Stephen Hahn, Trump’s nominee to lead the FDA. Dr. Hahn, a radiation oncologist and chief medical executive of MD Anderson Cancer Center, addressed the issue of vaping at the hearing on Wednesday. He pledged to take bold action to address the crisis but did not commit to a full ban on e-cigarettes. Dr. Hahn responded, "I think it’s a serious issue. And I think it requires bold action to keep these out of the hands of kids.”


CHART OF THE WEEK

Insurer Participation on ACA Marketplaces, 2014-2020

Kaiser Family Foundation

ACA experts report that insurers are entering new states and expanding their footprints. Despite repeal of the individual mandate penalty, premiums are dropping. The ACA continues to be resilient. Read more »

Support NCCS while shopping on Amazon. A portion of your Amazon purchases will be donated to NCCS when you choose NCCS as your AmazonSmile charity. Get started »

IMPORTANT READS

Open Enrollment: What you need to know

Kaiser Health News

With a lot of unknowns around the ACA lawsuit, the marketplace is still strong and experts agree that not a lot will change for 2020, so sign up for your health coverage now!

Read More »

FDA wants stronger warning on breast implants about risks

STAT News

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued new guidance on communication with patients about the risks of breast implants, including a proposed requirement for a boxed warning and a patient decision checklist, proposed to assist patients in making decisions regarding breast implants.

Read More »

Integrative Oncology

Cancer Today Magazine

Cancer Today Magazine featured NCCS CPAT Member Betsy Glosik in an informative article about the growing trend of cancer patients using complementary therapies — such as yoga, acupuncture, and tai chi — while taking conventional treatment. Glosik said, “I was looking for something else that wasn’t going to be another drug that was going to tear my body down.”

Read More »


Related Posts

NCCS Statement on HHS Final Rule for Short-Term, Limited Duration Health Plans

Health Care Roundup: Drug Pricing Bill Advances; ACA Open Enrollment & Premium Data; Cancer Overdiagnosis; “Medicaid Haves and Have-Nots”; More

Health Care Roundup: Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness; More on “Junk Insurance;” Reviewing Effects of California’s Surprise Billing Law; More

We aim to make the Health Care Roundup a concise, one-stop summary of what you need to know as we continue working together to make cancer care better for everyone.Your feedback is always welcome to make our content more useful to you. Please send comments to feedback@canceradvocacy.org.

Subscribe to our email list and receive these updates in your email box »


HEALTH CARE HIGHLIGHTS

House Drug Pricing Bill Advances Out of Committee

The biggest health care news this week was the approval by the House Ways and Means Committee of H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act — Speaker Pelosi's drug pricing bill. The bill advanced along party lines, with opponents citing a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that said the plan would harm drug innovation and reduce the number of new drugs coming to the market. To address this concern, some Democrats are considering investing savings from H.R. 3 into the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund drug research. However, pharmaceutical industry lobbyists argue that NIH cannot replace private sector research and development.

The CBO score also showed that the plan would save Medicare $345 billion over the next decade, as a result of a provision that would allow the government to directly negotiate lower drug prices with private companies in Medicare’s Part D drug program. The bill will now head to the full House floor for a vote in the coming weeks. President Trump has not indicated whether he would support the bill, and Paige Winfield Cunningham of the Washington Post reports that Speaker Pelosi and President Trump are still working on a drug pricing deal. She writes, “Were the pair to arrive at any agreement on drug prices, it would be in the face of enormous odds.”

Meanwhile, on the Senate side, Senators Grassley (R-IA) and Wyden (D-OR) have introduced their own drug pricing plan — this one bipartisan. Their legislation would impose an out-of-pocket cap for beneficiaries and cap drug price increases at the rate of inflation. The Grassley-Wyden bill has the support of the President and has been described as “middle ground” by lawmakers. With the government funding deadline coming up in just a few weeks, this fall is sure to be busy in Washington.


CHART OF THE WEEK

With the ACA’s open enrollment starting November 1, Kaiser Family Foundation has a helpful fact sheet outlining health plan options and what’s covered through the ACA.

Thanks to the financial help that nearly 9 out of 10 HealthCare.gov customers receive, 1 out of 3 marketplace customers will have a plan available in 2020 with a premium of less than $10 per month, according to new data released this week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The vast majority will have a plan available for less than $100 per month. However, many consumers are not aware their premium costs could be that low.

Get America Covered created a chart outlining a knowledge gap among consumers between what they consider an affordable premium and what they expect coverage to actually cost:

Get America Covered Chart

Support NCCS while shopping on Amazon. A portion of your Amazon purchases will be donated to NCCS when you choose NCCS as your AmazonSmile charity. Get started »

IMPORTANT READS

Growing tumors in a dish, scientists try to personalize pancreatic cancer treatment

STAT News

Dr. Joseph Grossman is leading a study where pancreatic cancer cells are grown in lab dishes and are each dosed with different drugs in order to identify personalized treatment options for one of the deadliest cancers.

Read More »

State Border Splits Neighbors Into Medicaid Haves And Have-Nots

National Public Radio (NPR)

This article paints a personal picture of a national issue by illustrating the stories of people in neighboring states, one that chose to expand Medicaid and one that did not. A recent University of Michigan study found Medicaid expansion substantially reduced mortality rates from 2014 to 2017.

Read More »

Opinion: Blame rising cancer overdiagnosis on ‘irrational exuberance’ for early detection

STAT News Opinion

Even though overall mortality from cancer is falling, the overall incidence is rising. In this opinion piece, Dr. H. Gilbert Welch blames overdiagnosis — the diagnosis of cancers not destined to cause symptoms or death.

Read More »

Trump Is Trying Hard To Thwart Obamacare. How's That Going?

National Public Radio (NPR)

NPR outlines the five biggest changes made to the ACA during the Trump Administration, including the repeal of the individual mandate and attempts to repeal the entire law. Despite all these efforts, the ACA is still the law of the land and provides critical health coverage to millions of Americans.

Read More »


Related Posts

Health Care Roundup: Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness; More on “Junk Insurance;” Reviewing Effects of California’s Surprise Billing Law; More

Health Care Roundup: Cokie Roberts; Survivorship in the News; Junk Insurance Doesn’t Cover the Bills; Seeking Help and Encouragement; More

We aim to make the Health Care Roundup a concise, one-stop summary of what you need to know as we continue working together to make cancer care better for everyone.Your feedback is always welcome to make our content more useful to you. Please send comments to feedback@canceradvocacy.org.

Subscribe to our email list and receive these updates in your email box »


HEALTH CARE HIGHLIGHTS

Ads Offering Bare-Bones Coverage are Everywhere

This Axios article highlights the growing trend of plans being advertised across the internet as “Trumpcare” plans. The problem? “Trumpcare doesn’t exist, and many of these advertised plans offer bare-bones coverage.”

"It's impossible to expect consumers to discern between the good guys and the con artists," said Sabrina Corlette, a health insurance researcher at Georgetown University. "And it's not the good guys that pop up on the first page of your Google search results."

As we’ve mentioned in recent Roundups, more stories are coming to light of people facing large medical bills because the comprehensive insurance they thought they were purchasing turned out to be “junk health insurance.”

California’s Surprise Billing Law

While progress on surprise billing legislation crept along in Congress, California moved forward with its own version. In the New York Times, Sarah Kliff and Margot Sanger-Katz reported on the implementation of the California law. Kliff and Sanger-Katz conclude that the law is providing protections to patients, pointing to data from two new studies. However, physicians strongly oppose the law and are warning Congress not to follow the example of California by adopting a benchmarking approach to surprise billing. With surprise billing increasingly in the news, this article provides a good overview of the topic and includes a look at the issues raised by surprise billing fixes.


CHART OF THE WEEK

Nearly two in five adults lacked confidence in affording health care if they became very sick.

Commonwealth Fund

There is increasing focus in the cancer community on “financial toxicity,” the term used to describe anxiety and other problems some patients face due to the high cost of health care. This graph, from the Commonwealth Fund, succinctly shows how respondents feel about their ability to afford the care they need if they became seriously ill. Even with some type of insurance, 38 percent of respondents reported little or no confidence in being able to afford care.

Read the full Commonwealth Fund survey report here »

Commonwealth Fund How confident are you that if you become seriously ill you will be able to afford the care you need?

Support NCCS while shopping on Amazon. A portion of your Amazon purchases will be donated to NCCS when you choose NCCS as your AmazonSmile charity. Get started »

IMPORTANT READS

Why the Women Most Likely to Die of Breast Cancer Have Gotten the Least Attention

Time Magazine

In an excerpt published by Time Magazine from her new book Radical: The Science, Culture, and History of Breast Cancer in America, breast cancer survivor Kate Pickert helps raise awareness about how little funding goes to metastatic breast cancer research.

She writes, “…some 40,000 American women still die from breast cancer every year. Despite the billions of dollars collected and spent on breast-cancer research over the past half-century, relatively little has been devoted to studying metastatic-breast-cancer patients or their particular forms of the disease.”

Read More »

With the Affordable Care Act’s future in doubt, evidence grows that it has saved lives

Washington Post

Many believe the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision on whether or not to invalidate the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could happen any day. As the nation awaits the decision, more evidence is showing the ACA’s impact on the health of Americans. As the Washington Post writes, “[There is] an emerging mosaic of evidence that, nearly a decade after it became one of the most polarizing health-care laws in U.S. history, the ACA is making some Americans healthier — and less likely to die.”

Read More »

Workplace Accommodations Would Ease the Burden for Patients With Cancer

OncLive (Free registration required, no paywall)

There are so many factors when it comes to receiving treatment for cancer. Access to quality, affordable health care is one, while appropriate workplace accommodations are another, as Victoria Blinder, MD, MSc, points out in this article. “Workplace accommodations are necessary because financial toxicity during treatment may impair a patient’s ability to successfully fight cancer and retain employment over the long term.” If all patients are to receive high quality cancer care, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, then employers need to provide necessary accommodations for cancer patients.

Read More »

He disclosed his 2-year-old’s cancer in a TED Talk. Liver donors lined up to help.

Washington Post

Wajahat Ali, a contributor to the New York Times and CNN, shared the cancer diagnosis of his two-year-old daughter during a TED talk. This moving article shares his experience and how over 500 people, mostly strangers, volunteered to be liver donors.

Read More »


Related Posts

Health Care Roundup: Cokie Roberts; Survivorship in the News; Junk Insurance Doesn’t Cover the Bills; Seeking Help and Encouragement; More

Health Care Roundup: What President Trump’s Health Care Plan Might Include; Recurrence Anxiety; Are There Too Many NCI Cancer Centers?; More

We aim to make the Health Care Roundup a concise, one-stop summary of what you need to know as we continue working together to make cancer care better for everyone.Your feedback is always welcome to make our content more useful to you. Please send comments to feedback@canceradvocacy.org.

Subscribe to our email list and receive these updates in your email box »


HEALTH CARE HIGHLIGHTS

Tennessee Unveils First Medicaid Block Grant Proposal

Tennessee became the first state in the country to release a plan proposing to block grant its Medicaid program. Currently, the federal government pays each state “a certain percentage of the cost of care for anyone eligible for health coverage.” If changed to a block grant program, the federal government would “instead pay a state a lump sum each year while freeing it from many of Medicaid’s rules, including who must be allowed into the program and what health care is covered.” This would almost surely lead to benefit reductions and potentially impact the care of cancer patients who are on Medicaid.

American Lung Association: Do NOT Use E-cigarettes

The use of e-cigarettes, especially by teens and young adults, and the health concerns associated with their use have gained considerable media attention. Public scrutiny intensified even more after reports that at least seven people have died from vaping-related illnesses. The federal government is reviewing its policies, and two states, Michigan and New York, already took action to remove e-cigarettes from stores.

While some adults use e-cigarettes to help quit smoking, the number of teens who use e-cigarettes has increased sharply. The American Lung Association (ALA) issued a strong statement: “E-cigarettes are not safe and can cause irreversible lung damage and lung disease. No one should use e-cigarettes or any other tobacco product.”

Remembering Cokie Roberts

The journalism and cancer communities are both deeply saddened this week by the passing of Cokie Roberts. A pioneer for women in journalism, she was also a staunch, outspoken advocate for cancer patients and survivorship issues. A longtime friend of NCCS, and a cancer survivor herself, her passion and dedication to improving the lives of cancer patients and their families will be missed. We offer our condolences to her family and to her colleagues at ABC News and National Public Radio.

View our tribute to Cokie and read more about her work with NCCS »

Cokie Roberts


CHART OF THE WEEK

NCCS Survivorship Survey: Cancer Survivors Share Their Top Concerns

NCCS and our partner patient advocacy organizations conducted a survivorship survey and promoted it to our constituents. We were thrilled that 1,380 cancer survivors responded and grateful to those of you who took the time to do so. They reported a mix of financial, emotional, and physical concerns when navigating their survivorship. Review the detailed results here »

Patients' top concerns are a mix of financial, physical, and emotional

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IMPORTANT READS

You’ve Survived Cancer. What Comes Next?

Wall Street Journal

Cancer survivor Laura Landro wrote this excellent piece highlighting how patients must navigate a multitude of physical and emotional survivorship issues. NCCS provided information for the piece, which mentions our survivorship survey results.

“When the treatment ends, the patients’ next journey is just beginning.”

Read More »

Health Insurance That Doesn’t Cover the Bills Has Flooded the Market Under Trump

Bloomberg

This detailed and heartbreaking article illustrates the perils of purchasing short-term health insurance plans. Often referred to as “junk” insurance, most of these plans do not provide the comprehensive coverage for people if they suddenly face significant health care needs.

The Diaz family thought they were buying comprehensive health coverage for a lower cost than their previous plan, which was ACA-compliant. After emergency bypass surgery, they were left with a $244,000 bill.

The article concludes by noting:

“The family switched to a comprehensive, ACA-compliant insurance policy in December 2017. With government subsidies, it costs less than they were paying for junk insurance.”

Read More »

NPR’s On Point – Life After Surviving Cancer: The Relief, Challenges And New Fears

National Public Radio (NPR)

Former NCI Office of Cancer Survivorship Director and current NCCS Board Member, Dr. Julia Rowland, was a guest on NPR’s program "On Point." She joined the author of the WSJ article mentioned above, Laura Landro, to discuss the myriad of issues cancer survivors face. You can listen to this informative discussion and find links to more reading here.

The episode is also available from the "On Point" podcast, which you can find on your favorite podcast app.

Read More »

Seeking Help and Encouragement Takes Strength

CURE Today

NCCS Elevate Ambassador Doris Cardwell shares some of her experiences and advice as an inflammatory breast cancer survivor.

She writes, “If you are a survivor and need help dealing with all that you see, please hear me: I am a strong, independent, and sometimes sassy woman. I have walked through many difficult things in my life. Yet, it took me years to realize that seeking help takes more strength and courage than not.”

Read More »

Thousands of Poor Patients Face Lawsuits From Nonprofit Hospitals That Trap Them in Debt

ProPublica

Along with surprise medical bills gaining more scrutiny, so has the behavior of some hospitals for aggressively filing lawsuits against patients. It is this type of reporting that shines a spotlight on these practices and helps change behavior.

Read More »


Related Posts

Health Care Roundup: What President Trump’s Health Care Plan Might Include; Recurrence Anxiety; Are There Too Many NCI Cancer Centers?; More

Health Care Roundup: Medicare Payments for CAR-T; Cancer Screenings in Older Adults; Cancer and At-Home DNA Tests; End of Life Care; More

We aim to make the Health Care Roundup a concise, one-stop summary of what you need to know as we continue working together to make cancer care better for everyone.Your feedback is always welcome to make our content more useful to you. Please send comments to feedback@canceradvocacy.org.

Subscribe to our email list and receive these updates in your email box each week »


HEALTH CARE HIGHLIGHTS

What Pres. Trump's Health Care Plan Might Include

In August, we noted that President Trump and other members of his administration mentioned that they intend to unveil a substantial health care plan later this month. As we await the details of that plan, we wanted to share this Kaiser Health News article that examines what such a plan may, or may not, include.

Congress returns to Washington next week, after the August recess. We will monitor and report on Congressional action on policy issues, including surprise medical billing, drug pricing, and more.


CHART OF THE WEEK

Did the Affordable Care Act Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Insurance Coverage?

The Commonwealth Fund

A recent analysis by the Commonwealth Fund looked at the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) using data from the American Community Survey. Researchers looked particularly at rates of insured vs. uninsured, and ethnic and racial disparities. Their conclusion is that the ACA helped significantly reduce rates of uninsured and reduced racial disparities:

“Uninsured rates in states that expanded Medicaid eligibility under the ACA fell 49 percent, compared with 27 percent in nonexpansion states. The ACA’s disparity-reducing effects have been strongest in states participating in the Medicaid expansion.”

With nearly 1.8 million new cancer diagnoses a year, and millions of cancer survivors across the country, the impact of the ACA on cancer care cannot be understated.

Read More »

Support NCCS while shopping on Amazon. A portion of your Amazon purchases will be donated to NCCS when you choose NCCS as your AmazonSmile charity. Get started »

IMPORTANT READS

Many Doctors Hold Back Health Advice for Cancer Survivors

Futurity

A relatively small study at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University looked at how often doctors make recommendations to patients about healthy lifestyles. Researchers surveyed 91 physicians: 30 primary care physicians; 30 oncologists; and 31 specialists (urologists, gynecologists, and dermatologists). While 90% of primary care doctors reported “recommending health promotion such as weight loss and smoking cessation to at least some survivors of cancer,” only 26.7% of oncologists and 9.7% of specialists said they do. The study adds an interesting perspective to the discussion about the role primary care doctors play in long-term survivorship care, and ongoing gaps in overall cancer care.

Read More »

Opinion: Are 71 NCI-Designated Cancer Centers Too Many?

The Scientist

In an opinion piece in The Scientist, David Rubensen argues that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated cancer center program “has evolved into a nationwide branding exercise, mostly signifying grant-writing endurance and adherence to metrics that skew scientific priorities and place centers in organizational straight jackets.” He suggests questions that he believes should be addressed about the future of the program.

Read More »

When Patients Deal with Recurrence Anxiety, Oncology Nurses Can Help

Oncology Nursing News

We often hear how fear of cancer recurrence affects cancer survivors after treatment, and fear of recurrence was the topic of one of our most popular webinars. Here, a cancer survivor and oncology nurse shares her experience facing recurrence anxiety and provides some ideas to help mitigate its impact.

Read More »

Waiting for the Monsoon, Discovering a Brain Tumor Instead

New York Times

New York Times reporter Rod Nordland shares his personal experience discovering and navigating a brain tumor diagnosis while on assignment in New Delhi, India.

Read More »


Related Posts

Health Care Roundup: Cancer Care Planning Bill Introduced; Drug Pricing Measures Advance; Rural Hospitals Struggling in States that Did Not Expand Medicaid; More

Health Care Roundup: Medicare Payments for CAR-T; Cancer Screenings in Older Adults; Cancer and At-Home DNA Tests; End of Life Care; More

We aim to make the Health Care Roundup a concise, one-stop summary of what you need to know as we continue working together to make cancer care better for everyone.Your feedback is always welcome to make our content more useful to you. Please send comments to feedback@canceradvocacy.org.

Subscribe to our email list and receive these updates in your email box each week »


HEALTH CARE HIGHLIGHTS

Cancer Care Planning and Communications Act Introduced in the House

On July 23, the Cancer Care Planning and Communications Act (CCPCA), H.R. 3835, was reintroduced in the House of Representatives. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) and Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA), co-chairs of the Congressional Cancer Survivors Caucus. The CCPCA is NCCS’ top legislative priority as it would increase access to comprehensive cancer care planning for millions of Medicare beneficiaries. If implemented in Medicare, it is our hope that private insurers would adopt similar measures.

You can find more information about the CCPCA here. NCCS also recently hosted a webinar and created a toolkit about how to meet with your Members of Congress during the August recess and advocate for the CCPCA and other cancer care issues. Check out the webinar and toolkit »

Drug Importation Plan Announced

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Wednesday an action plan for the “safe importation” of drugs. The plan has two parts. First, HHS would undertake a rulemaking process to establish a system for states and other entities to engage in drug importation from Canada. The second part of the effort would be to establish a pathway at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for manufacturers to import versions of drugs that they currently sell in foreign countries. Although many in the cancer community believe importation would not have a major impact on cancer drug access or pricing, the Trump Administration specifically mentions “cancer” in the second part of the plan.

To be clear, this is only the first step in a lengthy process, and NCCS will continue to monitor and report on any further developments.

Read the HHS press release announcing the plan »
For additional analysis, read this article from STAT News »

Senate Drug Pricing Package

Last week, the Senate Finance Committee approved a drug pricing bill by a vote of 19 to 9. However, the bill continues to face several serious challenges according to several reports. Republican Senators expressed concerns about the bill. The pharmaceutical industry lobbied aggressively against it on Capitol Hill this week. Democrats pledged that they would agree to floor action on the bill only if there is a vote on protecting pre-existing conditions and a vote on allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices during consideration of the bill.

Needless to say, the bill’s fate is far from certain. Here is a Washington Post article with additional background and a Kaiser Health News report that focuses on the political challenges facing the package.


CHART OF THE WEEK

Rural hospitals foundering in states that declined Obamacare

GateHouse News

To be fair, the challenges rural hospitals and providers face began well before the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But as this map and the associated research shows, refusing the ACA hasn’t helped matters.

“The irony to me,” said John Henderson, who heads The Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals and supports Medicaid expansion, “is that we’re paying federal income taxes to expand coverage in other states. We’re exporting our coverage and leaving billions of dollars on the table.”

Read More »

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IMPORTANT READS

Trump Administration Moves to Make Health Care Costs More Transparent

Kaiser Health News

Earlier this week, the Trump administration released a proposed new rule “that would provide consumers far more detail about the actual prices hospitals charge insurers.” There is ongoing debate regarding to what degree patients “shop around” for health care as consumers do for other goods and services. That said, more transparency to give patients—as well as employers and insurers for that matter—more information regarding costs could be a welcome step forward.

Read More »

The new bipartisan Senate bill aimed at making Big Pharma lower drug prices, explained

Vox.com

This article looks at another drug pricing bill in the Senate, sponsored by Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Rick Scott (R-FL). As Vox.com explains it:

“Their new bill would require companies that have received research funding from the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies to follow specific pricing restrictions for the drugs they are selling. If they don’t, they’d incur strict penalties.”

The bill only applies to new drugs, and not those currently on the market. With so much focus on this issue in Congress, it will be interesting to see if these and other drug pricing bills gain traction and get voted on.

Read More »

Finding My Greater Purpose Through Patient Advocacy

CURE Magazine

The author shares her personal experience with cancer and how her journey motivates her, even more than thirty years later, to be a patient advocate.

Read More »

Study: the US could have averted about 15,600 deaths if every state expanded Medicaid

Vox.com

We often highlight how critically important the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to cancer patients and their families. This article discusses a recent study that shows the ACA’s impact on mortality more generally, saying:

“[The researchers] found that by the fourth year of Medicaid expansion, mortality rates in states that expanded the program were 0.2 percentage points lower than in states that did not.”

Read More »


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