Don’t Weaken Health Insurance Marketplaces (Letter to the Editor, News Journal, 3/28/18)

March 30, 2018

Don’t weaken health insurance marketplaces

I am a cancer survivor, and my health coverage is my lifeline. Access to timely treatment, affordable medications and regular screenings and doctor visits are essential and the reason I am alive today. Breaks in coverage could mean delayed care and dire consequences for my health.

That’s why I’m so concerned to see that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar proposed a regulation that could significantly weaken the health insurance marketplaces and threaten access to health coverage for cancer patients, survivors and anyone at risk of developing the disease.

American Cancer Society research shows individuals without health insurance are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at later stages, when the disease is more expensive to treat and chance of survival is reduced.

This proposed regulation would increase the availability of short-term plans that can skirt patient protections and allow these plans to be more available for much longer periods than they were designed to be offered. If this regulation is finalized as-is, it will likely weaken the insurance marketplace, which many cancer patients and survivors rely on, make plans unaffordable and could lead to more bare-bones plans that can deny coverage based on someone’s health history or cap coverage if an individual runs up too many bills.

Delaware residents deserve better than this.

Rep. Lisa Blunt-Rochester, for the health of citizens in our state, please oppose these efforts to weaken or strip patient protections from plans. Urge Secretary Azar to stop this flawed regulation from moving forward.

Jan S. White, Volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Newark