By Chris Pirschel, Staff Writer, and Alec Stone, ONS Public Affairs Director

Insurer Group Warns Against Short-Term Health Plan Proposal

Earlier in 2018, the Trump administration proposed a new rule that would permit Americans to buy short-term health insurance for up to 12 months, breaking from an Obama-era regulation that limited short-term health plans to a maximum of three months. To some, the proposed extension would potentially extend coverage to Americans interested in insuring themselves and their families. However, the America’s Health Insurance Plans group is on the other side of the argument, insisting that temporary plans—for any length of time—are no substitute to real coverage. Short-term plans are not covered by Affordable Care Act regulations, and it could lead to patients with pre-existing conditions being charged more for temporary insurance.

In this instance, both sides have legitimate arguments. Many advocacy groups will work to persuade the federal government either for or against the issue. ONS continues to support affordable and accessible health care and will remain a resource for oncology nursing advocacy and education efforts for lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Medicaid Won’t Look the Same in 2019

The entire Medicaid system is changing. State governments have the ability to shape Medicaid, and many are taking the opportunity to do so. Some states are considering expansion to allow greater access, and other states are interested in adding new requirements for recipients to receive the program’s benefits. With the attempted repeal and replace efforts on Capitol Hill, Medicaid remained largely unchanged throughout 2017. But a Congress moves on from those efforts, the uncertainty related to Medicaid has disappeared, and many states are looking to adapt the program to best fit their state’s needs and values.

Some senators, including Bernie Sanders (I-VT), want Medicare for all, expanding the federal program to every American regardless of age. Although most Americans still receive healthcare coverage through their employers and not through Medicaid and Medicare, the changes could make it look like a very different system in the coming years. As always, ONS will continue to inform policy makers of the importance of access to quality cancer care and the important role of oncology nursing.

Rapid Autopsy Programs Seek Clues to Cancer Within Hours of Death

Rapid autopsies are becoming more recognized among patients with terminal diagnoses. Examining a body within hours of death can help offer scientists a unique view into the mechanisms that occur for patients with cancer at the end of life. For Keith Beck, giving his body over for a rapid autopsy was one of many selfless decision he made in his life and could potentially help researchers further understand his cancer type.

Generous patients like Beck and intrepid researchers are the cornerstones to advancing science and creating remarkable shifts in the understanding and treatment of cancers. In Beck’s case, a rapid autopsy gave researchers immediate, firsthand insights into cancer. For Beck and his family, the decision-making process toward the end of his life may have been difficult, but oncology nurses are often called on to help patients and their families understand ethical dilemmas and the options best suited for them.

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