Nancy Spillane: GOP creating plan to discriminate against cancer patients | SteamboatToday.com

Nancy Spillane: GOP creating plan to discriminate against cancer patients

The GOP-run Department of Health and Human Services is trying to bypass the health care rules Americans fought so hard to establish by expanding a niche type of health insurance. This would adversely affect cancer patients and their families like mine.

Most families have a cancer patient and/or survivor. According to the American Cancer Society, 54 percent of Americans said they or someone else in their immediate family has been diagnosed and treated for cancer.

This niche insurance, called short-term health plans, allows insurance companies to:

  • Deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions like cancer.
  • Cap benefits on coverage.
  • Exclude coverage for prescription drugs and hospitalization.

By providing minimal real coverage and denying access to those who need health services, the plans are intentionally attractive only to young, healthy people.

For cancer survivors and patients, the result is that the cost of real health coverage will likely skyrocket since there won't be as many young, healthy people in the system to offset costs. We can never go back to the day when cancer patients could be denied access to affordable, comprehensive health coverage.

This proposed rule could weaken or strip patient protections that could return us to a time when patients were discriminated against because of their health status.

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Expanding short-term plans could allow for backdoor discrimination against cancer patients. If plans don't cover benefits like prescription drugs, cancer patients and survivors would be discouraged from enrolling in those plans.

Older and sicker people, and those with pre-existing conditions like cancer, will likely make up a higher proportion of participants in the exchange plans, causing market instability and skyrocketing premiums.

Please join me in making sure this terrible proposal isn't a first step in that direction. Comments can be made at https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=CMS-2018-0015-0002 until April 23.

Nancy Spillane

Oak Creek