Patient groups warn: Administration policy encourages discrimination in health care

June 15, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today 29 patient and consumer groups representing millions of people nationwide with pre-existing health conditions issued the following statement in response to administration’s final rule. The rule, finalized Friday, attempts to undermine Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act by removing explicit protections against discrimination of patients by providers and institutions:

“By finalizing these changes, the Administration tries to unwind significant advances that have ensured vulnerable populations, including individuals with pre-existing conditions, are free from discrimination and able to access healthcare. The elimination of these important protections will result in severe consequences for the health and well-being of Americans seeking health care, especially those with serious, acute, chronic or other pre-existing conditions and those in vulnerable and under-served communities. Many Americans and their dependents will now be less likely to access preventive, diagnostic, and critical health care, or to enforce their rights to obtain such care. This is especially detrimental to the health and well-being of those living with pre-existing conditions, as well as women, LGBTQI+ individuals, people with disabilities, and those with limited English proficiency. These communities have long faced discrimination, bias, stigma, substandard care, and the denial of care. We are disturbed that the Administration is trying to undermine the equitable application and enforcement of the law—and making it more likely that providers and institutions will discriminate against millions of Americans in need of health care. Particularly as the world confronts a global pandemic, these actions have no place within our system of care and put the public’s health at risk. Those that fear discrimination will be less likely to seek care and treatment for COVID-19. This puts the entire population at risk and undermines federal, state, and local efforts to control the virus. As a result, we express our continued opposition and deep concern over the changes finalized by the administration and urge immediate action to prevent this regulation from taking full effect.”

Alpha-1 Foundation American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network American Kidney Fund American Lung Association Cancer Support Community Cancercare Chronic Disease Coalition COPD Foundation Crohn's & Colitis Foundation Epilepsy Foundation Family Voices Hemophilia Federation of America Immune Deficiency Foundation Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Mended Hearts & Mended Little Hearts Muscular Dystrophy Association National Alliance on Mental Illness National Health Council National Hemophilia Foundation National Multiple Sclerosis Society National Organization for Rare Disorders National Patient Advocate Foundation National Psoriasis Foundation Pulmonary Hypertension Association Susan G. Komen The AIDS Institute The American Liver Foundation United Way Worldwide WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease

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