Triage Cancer believes that access to affordable, quality health insurance coverage and medical care is critical to improving the health and well-being of the cancer community. To that end, we will continue to provide you with updates on what is happening in Washington, D.C. and in states across the country, with respect to any changes to our health care system under President Trump, and how those changes may impact the cancer community.
Webinar on Wednesday
On Wednesday, January 25, Triage Cancer is partnering with the National Coalition of Cancer Survivorship on a webinar to bring you the latest news: Affordable Care Act Update: What Advocates and Cancer Survivors Need to Know.
What Happened in the Last Week
On Friday, President Trump took office and that afternoon, signed an executive order regarding The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). This executive order does not repeal the ACA, but it does allow agencies to waive or defer provisions that “impose a fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications.”
While there are few details in this executive order, it is broad enough to allow a number of potential significant changes. For example, under this order, the IRS could stop enforcing the requirement that people have health insurance coverage, referred to as the “individual mandate.”
Second, Republican Senators Susan Collins and Bill Cassidy introduced the Patient Freedom Act of 2017. The Senators claim that their bill will: return power to the states; increase access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans; improve patient choice; and begin to bring coverage to the nearly 30 million Americans who still do not have health insurance. As we get additional details about this legislation we will share it with you.
Understanding the Possible “Replacements” & Other Changes
There is a great attention being paid to the repeal of the ACA, but there are other changes being discussed. Over the last few weeks, we have laid out how those changes may impact the cancer community in these blogs:
- Post-Election Update: How health insurance may be changing
- Post-Election Update: Are HSAs a health care solution?
- Post-Election Update: Changes to Medicare
- Post-Election Update: What does the Budget have to do with the ACA?
- Why Pre-Existing Condition Protections Are Not Enough
- The Affordable Care Act: An Overview of the Consumer Protections
- A Post-Election Update: Health Insurance in the U.S.
We also want to share some other resources that you may find helpful:
- The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation issued a report that explained the financial impact of a repeal of the ACA. The report estimated that the number of uninsured would increase by 18 million in the first year following repeal and up to 32 million by 2026. The cost of insurance in the marketplace or directly from insurers would increase by 20-25% in the first year. Read the report here: How Repealing Portions of the Affordable Care Act Would Affect Health Insurance Coverage and Premiums.
- Webinar on how the ACA repeal would hurt seniors
- Caps on Federal Medicaid Funding Would Give States Flexibility to Cut, Stymie Innovation
We hope that our elected officials will keep these issues in mind as they make their decisions over the next few days, weeks, and months on any changes to health care system.
What You Can Do
We will have to continue to wait and see what happens, but in the meantime, there is something that you can do.
Share your experience and concerns: Call or email your elected officials and share your health insurance concerns. To find your elected officials or learn more about becoming an advocate, visit our Advocacy resources. You can also find the Facebook and Twitter handles for the current members of Congress here.
Tell your story: Share your story with Families USA or the National Coalition of Cancer Survivorship (NCCS), two health care advocacy organizations that are working to help our elected officials understand the dire consequences of repealing the ACA and how certain changes to our health care system can impact us all. But they need the stories of real people. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can share your story at http://familiesusa.org/share-your-story at www.canceradvocacy.org/blog/share-your-aca-story.
Do You Need Health Insurance Now?
We also want to remind you that change is Washington is rarely swift and that we may not see changes for most of 2017. That means that we have to continue to operate with the system we have for now and ensure that people have health insurance coverage for 2017. If you do not have health insurance coverage, you can apply for Medicaid at any time or purchase a policy through the State Health Insurance Marketplaces until January 31, 2017.
For more information about how to choose a health insurance policy (including making choices between employer-sponsored options), watch our recorded webinar. If you aren’t sure what your health insurance options are, you can get personalized information on our recently released resource: www.CancerFinances.org.
Stay tuned to our Blog and sign up for our newsletter, as we will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available in the coming days, weeks, and months.