Healthcare Price Transparency; Cancer Survivor Caucus; Insurers Sue for ACA Backpay
Trump Order May Make Healthcare Prices Public
Since 2016, then-candidate Trump promised he was going to bring healthcare costs under control (http://send.ons.org/link.cfm?r=PaiK6-5zhDkSR0zw_2KlyA~~&pe=95WQjBVxi1F-zUw7f6HZbC7mXkEETj3oj3X4A5eZrdIr6zGKwbG1f-OSVTawzZ3SHd3opMwRsza2YmkpmdOqDw~~&t=F50aQLCMHgEovq26t0t0OQ~~). In a White House announcement on June 24, 2019 (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/24/upshot/health-care-price-transparency-trump.html), the president took steps to add transparency to the process by requiring insurance companies, hospitals, and physicians to identify fees and costs in public and simple ways for patients to see in advance and to understand.
The industry claims that the requirement might raise prices, but most politicians, economists, and advocates hailed the new rule as a step toward peeling back the veil of secrecy, giving patients more insight into the already-intimidating medical process. Backed by the Department of Health and Human Services, the rule has full support from the Trump administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees healthcare implementation. This could be the beginning of a new healthcare understanding that may improve access to quality care (http://send.ons.org/link.cfm?r=PaiK6-5zhDkSR0zw_2KlyA~~&pe=nAwYtBPx1kh7H1voxwkFVvrUT3_FWcHy_b3budFSIWXuFMp-vxOjI3Gu1X2YiYfy3iUMJqqIPujnhC5jckpWgw~~&t=F50aQLCMHgEovq26t0t0OQ~~).
Addressing Patient Challenges Through the Cancer Survivors Caucus
In an opinion piece from June 26, 2019 (https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/healthcare/450101-working-for-patients-on-the-cancer-survivors-caucus), Buddy Carter (R-GA), the only pharmacist in the U.S. Congress, made a strong case for continued support for his bipartisan work in the Energy and Commerce Committee and as a member of the Congressional Cancer Survivors Caucus. Carter highlighted the challenges facing patients with cancer, especially as they transition from treatment to post-treatment survivorship.
Carter also noted the tremendous financial burden cancer survivors experience, leaving many patients in dire financial straits after their treatment ends (https://voice.ons.org/news-and-views/financial-toxicity-and-its-burden-on-cancer-care). ONS works across the aisle with elected officials like Carter to educate them on the role of the nurse (https://voice.ons.org/topic/oncology-nursing-roles) in health care. Carter is well-versed on the topic and spoke at ONS's congressional briefing earlier in 2019, but having a sitting member of Congress, particularly a conservative one, support cancer care is a win-win. Look for Representative Carter at future ONS events (https://www.ons.org/make-difference/ons-center-advocacy-and-health-policy/advocacy-and-healthy-policy-events).
Insurers Sue Government for Billions in Obamacare Backpay
In another attempt to change the Affordable Care Act (https://voice.ons.org/topic/affordable-care-act-aca), several insurance companies sued the federal government for back payments (https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/449996-supreme-court-to-hear-obamacare-case-on-whether-insurers-are-owed-billions) from a stated agreement in the Obama administration's proposal to provide funding in states that needed insurance. In the past, U.S. Congress was not interested in allocating funds for this perceived private sector bailout of an industry that is not in financial trouble.
The Congress-imposed funding limits to the Obama administration proposal led to stark premium increases during ACA’s early years, generating significant backlash after the healthcare law’s initial implementation. Now that premiums have stabilized (https://voice.ons.org/advocacy/obamacare-premiums-stabilize-senate-opioid-package-medicare-for-all-questions), insurers are looking to recoup nearly $12 billion in backpay from the government. The case now heads to the Supreme Court to decide to find for the plaintiffs, for the American people, or to remand the case to the lower courts.