Last night the Senate voted against the so called ACA “Skinny-Bill” Repeal, 49-51. This bill would have eliminated the medical device tax as well as the individual and employer mandates.
Practically speaking, this means that the protections and health insurance options created by the ACA remain, for now.
Thank you to all of you who contacted your elected officials and used your voice to advocate for the cancer community.
However, our work is not done.
Many Senators have expressed their concerns with how the ACA repeal efforts were handled in secret and without open committee hearings to discuss proposals to improve our healthcare system. We hope that can be seen as a signal for Congress to start working together to make changes where the ACA can be improved upon.
Unfortunately, after the vote the President has declared via Twitter: “let ObamaCare implode.”
Unfortunately, we just don’t know what that means. It could mean that all federal agencies simply stop enforcing the consumer protections created in the law. It may also mean that the Department of Health and Human Services will stop paying for Americans to receive financial assistance to purchase health insurance.
Senate leadership has indicated that they plan to move on to other legislative priorities. So the possibilities now for health care reform include: bipartisan committee work (e.g., hearings, debate, new proposals, etc.), stabilizing the marketplaces, and administrative action by federal agencies to change the health care law. However, these actions may end up being contrary to each other, as many threatened agency actions have actually helped to destabilize the marketplace and increase premiums.
One thing does seem certain, the efforts to provide accessible, affordable health care for all Americans must continue. If this is an issue that concerns you, you can keep talking to your elected officials about how important access to quality, affordable health insurance coverage is to the cancer community.
We will continue to provide updates on this issue and others impacting the cancer community.