By Chris Pirschel, Staff Writer, and Alec Stone, ONS Director of Health Policy
Patients Living With Cancer Show Concern for ACA Repeal
In a series of articles published by the Washington Post, patients living with cancer are speaking out against the potential harm that could impact cancer care with repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Told through each patient’s own experience with the ACA, the stories paint a vivid picture for lawmakers on Capitol Hill. By putting a face to those affected by repealing the ACA, this series may give representatives pause before they consider getting rid of the healthcare bill.
Cancer, more than most other debilitating disease, can impact patients in seemingly unending ways. Some patients may lose their jobs, thus stranding them without health insurance. Others may find themselves designated with a pre-existing condition for the rest of their lives. Oncology nurses see the challenges their patients face every day. Repealing the ACA has numerous potential impacts for patients with living with—and beyond—their cancer diagnosis. ONS continues to champion the need for a strong healthcare system that supports portability, access, affordability, and expanded coverage.
Bipartisan Support Emerges to Fight Opioid Epidemic
Although reports most often discuss that one political party is arguing with another, several issues are facing Americans for which bipartisan support is real. The opioid epidemic is one. Recognizing the dangers of addiction and the recent uptick in opioid-related deaths, former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Democratic Congressman Patrick Kennedy have banded together with CNN contributor Van Jones, calling for a joint effort against opioid addiction.
Gingrich, Kennedy, and Jones are encouraging the Trump Administration to follow through on its campaign promise of ending opioid addiction in the United States. According to their joint article, only three of every 100 opioid-addicted individuals are receiving the treatment necessary for the disease.
Oncology nurses regularly observe the benefits of properly prescribed opioids for pain management and symptom relief. ONS recognizes that fighting this epidemic may have unintended negative impacts on patients with cancer by limiting access to appropriate pain management medication and will continue to advocate for proper pain management at the national level.
Leaked ACA Replacement Plan May Scale Back Subsidies, Limit Medicaid
Repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, has been a hot topic in news cycles since before the presidential election ended in November. Many worry that proposed replacents for the existing healthcare law could have potential shortcomings. According to a leaked version of the GOP’s replacement plan, repealing Obamacare could mean scaling back subsidies and eliminating the Medicaid expansion that came with the law’s passage.
The ACA repeal is a moving target and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Weekly, careful readers can see that the timeline, the amounts of money, and the list of entitlements are constantly changing. Could it be that information was floated to gauge public and political reaction to some of the elements in the proposed ACA repair? It’s possible. This is a political game after all. The truth in Washington is that no one has all the answers, and finding a consensus is going to be challenging. The fate of the ACA is far from decided. However, ONS and its partners will continue to advocate for affordability, access to care, coverage for pre-existing conditions, and much more as the replacement healthcare law takes shape.