Key Cancer Patient Protections included in Health Care Bill

Key Cancer Patient Protections included in Health Care Bill

March 22, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the passage of the health reform bill by the U.S. House of Representatives last night, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Advocacy Alliance thanked policy-makers for including important patient protections in the legislation, calling them “vitally important for cancer patients and survivors.”

“After more than a year of advocating for Congress to include in its reform package a series of critical reforms designed to improve the health care system for cancer patients and survivors, we were heartened to see that the voice of our advocates was heard,” said Jennifer Luray, President of the Komen Advocacy Alliance.  “By including protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and eliminating annual and lifetime caps on benefits, cancer patients will have better access to affordable insurance and protection from potential bankruptcy due to the cost of their treatment. We also appreciated that mammography is included in the newly required prevention benefits.”

The Komen Advocacy Alliance has been advocating for several important health reforms over the past year, which are all included in the legislation Congress is now sending to the president’s desk for signature.  These reforms, which received broad bipartisan support, include:

  • Ending insurance discrimination based on pre-existing conditions.   
  • Ensuring breast cancer screening is widely available, beginning at age 40.   
  • Limiting out-of-pocket medical costs by eliminating annual and lifetime caps on benefits.  
  • Helping underserved women make the most effective use of health care services through the use of patient navigation services
  • Removing barriers to participation in clinical trials. 
  • Educating women, including young women, about the importance of breast self-awareness and understanding their risk factors.

“Passing this legislation is only the first step.  Now comes the hard part of implementing these reforms,” noted Luray.  “The Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Advocacy Alliance will be working closely with policymakers to ensure the needs of cancer patients and survivors are met as federal agencies begin implementing the new policies.  In the meantime, we will be working with Komen Affiliates and other stakeholders to protect state-based cancer screening programs, which will continue to be necessary for the foreseeable future.”

For more information on the Komen Advocacy Alliance’s priorities for health reform, visit www.komenadvocacy.org.  In the coming days we will post an examination of the cancer provisions and a timeline for when they will be implemented.