Republicans Reveal Broad Repeal and Replace Legislation Outline
On Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced that Republicans plan to introduce repeal and replace legislation the week of February 27. This followed a Republican caucus meeting where the elements of the legislation were outlined. The Hill summarized the plan saying, “The GOP bill will include tax credits, an expansion of Health Savings Accounts, money for high risk pools to care for the sick, and a major restructuring of Medicaid to cap federal payments.” The New York Times reports that the outline did not include costs or “estimates of the number of people who would gain or lose insurance under the plan, nor did it include comparisons with the Affordable Care Act, which has extended coverage to some 20 million people.”
NCCS is extremely concerned by this proposal. These policies are a significant step backwards from the access and affordability protections of the ACA and threaten to be catastrophic for cancer patients.
This week, NCCS and other patient advocacy groups met with staff on the House Energy and Commerce Committee to discuss legislation to retain protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Chairman Greg Walden introduced the Pre-Existing Conditions Protection Act, which would restore some of the patient protections in the ACA. NCCS continues to urge Congress not to repeal the ACA, as millions of cancer patients and survivors depend on it for access to quality, affordable health care.
HHS Releases Proposed Rule on ACA
On Tuesday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a proposed rule on ACA market stabilization. According to Kaiser Health News, the proposed rule “was actually begun by the outgoing Obama administration. In part, it is an effort to address complaints by insurers that consumers were ‘gaming’ the system to purchase coverage only when they were sick and then dropping it when they were healthy.” The rule attempts to provide some certainty to health plans to encourage them to stay in the market by tightening enrollment options for consumers. These changes could make it more difficult for consumers to enroll in plans and result in fewer people covered.
Additionally, the rule itself states that changes in valuations of plans “could reduce the value of coverage for consumers, which could lead to more consumers facing increases in out-of-pocket expenses, thus increasing their exposure to financial risks associated with high medical costs.”
The public comment period is open through March 7, and NCCS plans to submit comments.
With this week’s announcement of a timeline and broad elements of a bill, it is more important than ever to make our voices heard in Congress. During the week of February 18-26, Members will be on recess and will return to their state and district offices to meet with constituents.
Recess is a critical time to meet with your members and let them know that the ACA has provided cancer survivors and patients with unprecedented protections and quality, affordable, and accessible health care coverage. Whether you attend a town hall event in your district, set up an in-person meeting with the district office, or call your Member, every effort is vital in saving our care:
- Use this PDF for tips and sample questions for contacting Members of Congress or attending town hall meetings »
- Here’s an up-to-date list of town hall events for all congressional districts »
NCCS can help you set up a meeting with your Members of Congress. Email Lindsay Houff, Manager of Policy.