Washington, D.C., February 28, 2017— “Changing the nation’s health care system is likely to feature prominently tonight in the president’s speech to Congress. As the president accurately stated yesterday, health care in this country is incredibly complicated and interconnected. Any future changes require careful consideration and should preserve critical patient protections and access to meaningful, affordable health insurance.
“Access to quality, affordable health insurance is essential to our nation’s ability to reduce cancer-related death and suffering. American Cancer Society research has shown those who are uninsured or underinsured are more likely to have a late stage diagnosis when the disease is more expensive to treat and harder to survive.
“Critical patient protections for those affected by or at risk for cancer should be preserved including: prohibiting pre-existing condition exclusions, eliminating lifetime or annual benefit caps, giving states the opportunity to increase access to Medicaid coverage for the working poor and the nation’s most vulnerable and providing low or no-cost prevention and early detection services.
“Thirty million Americans, many of them cancer patients and survivors, now have insurance they did not have before. We need to be sure the people who are most in need of quality health insurance have it.
“In addition, while access to meaningful health insurance is essential for patients and survivors, insurance alone cannot reduce cancer’s burden. We hope the president and Congress will continue investing in medical research by boosting funding for the National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute. This investment combines the promise of continued medical progress with increased American medical innovation and improved international competitiveness.
“The recent passage of the 21st Century Cures Act provides a unique opportunity to accelerate the pace of progress against this disease. Millions of Americans affected by cancer are relying on lawmakers to continue supporting the search for new and innovative therapies and diagnostic tools for the patients who need them.
“We are hopeful that lawmakers will do what is best for cancer patients. That’s why preserving access to quality, affordable health insurance along with continued investment in life-saving research is so critically important.
“We look forward to working with the president and Congress to advance both these priorities.”