Washington, D.C.—April 28, 2020—The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is urging President Biden and Congress to work together to prioritize access to affordable health care in any forthcoming infrastructure legislation. ACS CAN sent a letter to the White House and Congressional leadership ahead of the president’s address to Congress detailing several policies that would help more Americans prevent, detect, and treat cancer successfully.
The letter calls for making permanent the expanded eligibility and generosity of subsidies to cover the costs of marketplace health plans—policies that have contributed to more than a half million people gaining health care coverage in just a few months—fixing the “family glitch” so that families are able to afford coverage through the marketplace if someone's employer only offers affordable coverage for the employee; continuing to expand coverage to low-income populations; prohibiting or significantly curtailing the sale of substandard insurance plans, including short-term limited-duration plans, association health plans and farm bureau plans, all of which are exempt from covering the kind of services those with cancer or a history of cancer need; and capping out-of-pocket drug costs for people in Medicare Part D.
A statement from Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) follows:
“The president and Congress have a unique opportunity to make permanent changes that have made health care more affordable and accessible during this pandemic and extend the benefits of improved access to cancer prevention, detection and treatment services for millions of American for years to come. Combined, expanded eligibility and generosity of health care subsidies, including ending the family glitch, expanding coverage to more low-income individuals, and reigning in substandard insurance plans would vastly improve the country’s access to comprehensive health care. Research has repeatedly shown the connection between adequate health coverage and early cancer detection and survivability.
“With no current limit on out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs in Medicare, cancer patients can face staggering costs to access recommended treatments. Capping out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare enrollees would alleviate the often-overwhelming financial burden cancer patients face that can create barriers to timely and lifesaving treatment.
“The coronavirus pandemic has made clear the nation’s urgent need for more affordable, comprehensive health care coverage and provides an opportunity for lawmakers to meet that need now and in the future. On behalf of cancer patients, survivors and their families we urge the president and Congress to make access to affordable health care a policy priority in their upcoming infrastructure bill.”
Read the full ACS CAN letter.