Washington, D.C.—The U.S. House of Representatives is set to pass legislation today that would increase access to health coverage for millions of Americans, including cancer patients and survivors, as part of its pandemic relief package.
The bill increases the generosity of subsidies to cover the costs of marketplace health plans—including offering subsides to those who are receiving unemployment benefits—offers financial support to cover the bulk of premium costs for laid off workers who choose to keep their employer-sponsored health care plans and boosts the federal reimbursement for states to expand their Medicaid programs.
A statement from Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN):
“The passage of this bill in the House would bring millions of Americans who have lost their health coverage due to the pandemic—whether through job loss, reduced hours or other means—closer to gaining meaningful coverage. Access to comprehensive health coverage is always essential, but its importance has become even more apparent during this ongoing public health emergency and we welcome the added assistance to help patients get the care they need.
“We also urge the Senate to add aid to biomedical researchers struggling to restart their work amidst the ongoing pandemic to the legislation. Clinical trials provide a lifeline for patients of all kinds, including those with cancer, and the interruptions, delays and costs to restarting these trials are significant. Allocating $10 billion to the National Institutes of Health for this specific purpose would ensure years of valuable research and potential for new and life-saving treatments are not lost to the pandemic.
“By providing more ways for people to afford comprehensive health care and ensuring critical biomedical research can resume, Congress can significantly improve our nation’s health outcomes for years to come. The House has taken the first step toward this future and we urge the Senate to quickly do the same.”