#KeepUsCovered – Keep Children with Cancer Covered
Take action now using the quick and easy link below and let your U.S. Senators know the healthcare bill proposed yesterday will threaten the lives of children battling cancer. One-third of all children diagnosed with cancer depend on Medicaid. Two-thirds who survive will experience late effects as a result of their cancer diagnosis and initial treatment. Survivors should not be discriminated against receiving long term health care because of their pre-existing cancer condition.
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ACTION ITEM DETAILS
Tell your U.S. Senators to ensure the proposed healthcare bill includes critical patient protection provisions on gap coverage and pre-existing conditions, maintains the Medicaid safety net for children with cancer, and reduces out-of-pocket costs or VOTE ‘NO’. They must not accept a healthcare bill that will threaten the lives of these precious children.
Thank you for your help protecting our nation’s childhood cancer warriors! …because kids can’t fight cancer alone!®
Take action now using the quick and easy form below and let your U.S. Senators know the healthcare bill proposed today will threaten the lives of children battling cancer. One-third of all children battling cancer depend on Medicaid. Children and families affected by childhood cancer have gone through enough without the threat of losing coverage for the medical treatments required to save their lives.
The American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO), founded in 1970, is the largest grassroots childhood cancer non-profit in the U.S. On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of childhood cancer families, patients and survivors represented, we ask that you join us in urging the U.S. Senate to amend their healthcare policy to ensure affordable, accessible, and quality healthcare for our nation’s littlest cancer patients — or vote “NO” when the new healthcare bill comes for a vote in the next few days.
MEDICAID QUALITY AND ACCESS FOR CANCER PATIENTS JEOPARDIZED
Research conducted by ACCO over a span of more than 10 years confirms that approximately one-third of all children treated for cancer in the U.S. relied on Medicaid for their insurance coverage. If a healthcare bill is enacted as passed by the U.S. House of Representatives (the American Health Care Act), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) May 24, 2017 brief predicts Medicaid funding will be cut by a resounding $880 billion over the next 10 years, out-of-pockets costs including copays, premiums and deductibles will rise, and the number of uninsured individuals including children will increase.
PATIENT PROTECTION PROVISIONS AND ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS MAY BE WAIVED
Surveys conducted with families of children with cancer and childhood cancer survivors continue to tell us patient protection provisions matter. We are very concerned that under the healthcare bill key patient protection provisions are in jeopardy. Key survey data included:
- 9 out of 10 respondents believe the prohibition on lifetime and annual caps on coverage is important;
- 9 out of 10 respondents believe that the prohibition on preventing denial of coverage for preexisting health conditions is important;
- 7 out of 10 respondents believe that it is important for dependent children to receive healthcare coverage until the age of 26.
As the CBO summarized, the AHCA version passed by the House currently falls short in ensuring that patients and survivors (including childhood cancer patients and survivors) will be able to access affordable health care insurance that will provide them with the quality care needed to treat and cure their cancer diagnosis.
Under the current plan, states could allow pre-existing condition exclusions by applying for a federal waiver allowing insurance plans to medically underwrite people who experience a gap in coverage of more than 63 days. ACCO’s research shows that approximately 45% of families of children with cancer will face a potential gap in coverage as one parent often must stop working or cut their work by 50% in order to care for their child.
Maintaining essential health benefits for our country’s sickest and smallest citizens is critical. However, in addition to the waiver allowing medical underwriting for people experiencing gaps in coverage, the proposed healthcare bill also allows states to waive these essential benefits insurers are currently required to provide allowing them to potentially opt out of the most expensive services our sickest patients need. The proposed law also allows lifetime and annual limits on services to be imposed; pricing children and families out of life-saving treatments and into financial turmoil and even bankruptcy.
Our families have indicated that even with current coverage, caring for a child with cancer has long-lasting financial devastation on the family. Twenty-four percent of respondents noted annual out-of-pocket costs of cancer treatment for their child was between $5,000 and $10,000, while 18% stated they had incurred more than $10,000 in out-of-pocket expenses each year. Nearly 40% of respondents indicated their family incurred “considerable” debt as a result of their child/teen’s cancer diagnosis, with an additional 14% rating the debt as “severe.”
In summary, we believe the following changes must be made to the healthcare bill:
- The reduction in funding of the Medicaid program must be eliminated to ensure ongoing coverage and reduction of out-of-pocket costs associates with copays, deductibles, and premiums for the one-third of childhood cancer patients who depend on Medicaid for a cure of their disease.
- Patient protection provisions ensuring patients can obtain affordable coverage after a lapse or gap must be included.
- Insurers must be required to continue to provide essential health benefits to childhood cancer patients without lifetime and annual limits on services.
Unless the above amendments can be made, we are urging all Senators to vote “NO“.