Once again, the United States government is attempting to change the healthcare system across the country and repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The latest attempts come in the form of the Graham-Cassidy bill.
If you are a cancer patient or you have family members or friends with cancer, this bill will cause serious problems for covering the costs of cancer treatment.
This bill allows states to obtain waivers from the Affordable Care Act’s regulations that prevent health insurance companies from charging higher premiums due to health-related issues and pre-existing conditions, reported Think Progress.
This means that cancer patients and others with medical conditions could face higher premiums from their health insurance plan once they become diagnosed.
“You can be charged more for a specific condition,” Chris Sloan, a senior manager at the health research firm Avalere, told Vox.
The Center for American Progress has some important data to showcase about this new healthcare bill. These numbers show just how much private insurers could raise premium costs for patients.
For patients with metastatic cancer, their premium costs could skyrocket by 3,500 percent, which is a surcharge of $142,650. Patients with brain or lung cancer could see their premiums rise by 1,790 percent or a surcharge of $72,980.
Breast cancer patients as well as colorectal, kidney, and other cancer patients could see their premiums jump by 703 percent or a $28,660 surcharge.
Essentially, cancer patients can either become bankrupt by their medical bills or by their health insurance company. Other less severe conditions like asthma and diabetes could lead patients to have their premiums double in cost if their state gets these waivers.
This data was obtained by looking at the numbers between the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and private insurers under the risk adjustment program. This particular program provided subsidies to insurance companies that enrolled high-risk patients with more expensive medical conditions.
Even if you have a history of breast cancer or other medical condition, your premiums may increase. However, Senator Cassidy claims that any waiver application will have to include a notice of “how the state intends to maintain adequate and affordable health insurance coverage for individuals with preexisting conditions.”
“Knowing that states may want to experiment, we specify that in the waiver request they must have adequate and affordable coverage for those with preexisting conditions,” said Cassidy.
The biggest problem that critics say is that the term “affordable” will be up for bureaucrats to decide. The amount of coverage in a high-risk pool may not be nearly adequate enough to ensure cancer patients don’t go bankrupt in order to be treated.
There is no language in this new healthcare bill to prevent discrimination against sick patients, which means their costs could go up, reports Vox.
The regulations under the Affordable Care Act lays it all out and makes sure that private insurers cannot discriminate against sick people in terms of price with consideration of their yearly income. The Graham-Cassidy bill lacks these protections.
However, there are a number of Republican senators who may vote “no” on this bill including Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and John McCain (R-AZ). These are the senators that voted against the prior Affordable Care Act repeal effort.
Tell your Senators if you do not support this bill. If you want to make sure cancer patients do not end up with skyrocketing premiums, call up your Senators today!