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Cancer Network Urges Governor’s Intervention

Two young cancer patients still find reasons to smile

By Andrea Sears, Public News Service
for The Post Publications

HARRISBURG PA – Gov. Tom Wolf is being asked by the American Cancer Society to deliver a simple message to federal lawmakers: “Make health insurance equal to or better than it is today.”

Wolf is among a select group of governors speaking this week with U.S. Senate leadership about the American Health Care Act, the bill passed by the House of Representatives to replace the Affordable Care Act. Critics claim the replacement bill would slash Medicaid, allow insurers to charge higher premiums for people with pre-existing conditions, and eliminate requirements that insurers provide essential benefits such as cancer prevention and treatment.

“Lawmakers need to improve, not destroy, gains made under the Affordable Care Act,” according to Diane Phillips, director of government relations for the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network.

The network’s letter to state governors expressed its concerns, and noted the new bill’s cuts to Medicaid would shift the cost of care to the states. “On top of current budget issues,” Phillips said, “states would be expected to fill in gaps for Medicaid because the federal government is now changing that scenario in midstream.” The bill’s supporters say the shift would give states more flexibility in providing health care.

According to the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, cuts contained in the replacement bill could result in a projected potential loss to Pennsylvania of almost $25 billion over 10 years.

“One of (Health Care Act’s) greatest achievements has been enabling most patients with pre-existing conditions like cancer to buy insurance that covers their necessary care,” Phillips said. “Americans across the board need access to affordable, quality care.”

Photo by Bill Branson from Wikimedia Commons

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