ACS CAN Urges Governors to Voice Concerns About Impact of AHCA on State Cancer Burden Ahead of Discussions with Senate Leadership

Medicaid Changes, Waiving Essential Health Benefits, Continuous Coverage Requirements Among Top Problems for Cancer Community

June 5, 2017

Washington, D.C., June 5, 2017— Proposed changes to the health care law in the American Health Care Act (AHCA) could reverse progress in the cancer fight and shift the economic burden for health care coverage to the states. Ahead of scheduled calls between a select group of governors and Senate leadership this week, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) sent a letter to state leaders detailing the organization’s concerns about proposals to dramatically reduce Medicaid funding that would threaten safety nets for the nation’s most vulnerable; allow medical underwriting that could reintroduce discrimination based on health history; waive minimum essential benefits requirements that guarantee coverage for cancer prevention and treatment; eliminate steady funding streams that subsidize affordable health coverage; and institute continuous coverage requirements that could discriminate against those who cannot work due to illness or who have to take leave to care for a loved one.

In the letter, ACS CAN President Chris Hansen writes, “As passed by the House, AHCA could leave cancer patients and survivors - young, old and across all income ranges – unable to access or keep quality health insurance. The bill would create a state-by-state coverage patchwork in which individuals with pre-existing conditions could be charged more for their coverage in some states, with the strong likelihood that they would be priced out of the insurance market.”

While the proposed changes to the health care law purport to provide states greater flexibility, in reality reducing coverage requirements will lead to sicker, uninsurable residents and strain state budgets as governors are forced to pick up the tab.

The letter goes on to note, “Recognizing that there are ways to make the current system more affordable and equitable for more Americans, ACS CAN has urged Senators to undertake a more deliberative consideration of health reform.  We believe it is possible to strengthen Medicaid and the individual market, and provide access to affordable coverage for all Americans, including those with serious and costly diseases like cancer.”

ACS CAN continues to urge lawmakers to find solutions that will ensure coverage is equal or better to what is available today. However, with the CBO projecting 23 million fewer Americans would be covered if the AHCA is enacted, including 14 million losing Medicaid coverage, the current approach is seriously flawed.

The letter to governors concludes, “We place tremendous value on your leadership and commitment to providing your residents with access to quality, affordable and comprehensive health care coverage.  Ensuring that cancer patients and survivors in your state have access to uninterrupted and meaningful health care coverage is critical in the effort to eliminate death and suffering from cancer.”

For a copy of the full letter please visit:

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit

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