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National Patient-Advocacy Organizations Urge Congress To Improve Health Care Coverage

August 3, 2017

In late July, the U.S. Senate attempted but failed to advance various bills to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The Society has joined 12 nonpartisan patient and provider groups representing millions of Americans in the following statement urging Congress to work on bipartisan legislation that improves health coverage:

"The legislative proposals put forward by the Senate for consideration last week would have jeopardized care for millions of patients across America. While our organizations did not support these measures, we recognize that Congress must move quickly to improve and strengthen the nation’s health care system.

Bipartisanship is the only feasible path forward. Action is needed by Congress to provide cost-sharing reduction payments to protect low-income individuals and stabilize the marketplace. Simultaneously, it’s critical that Congress address the affordability of health care in this country. Collaboration and compromise are essential parts of the process. Our organizations stand ready to work with lawmakers to find ways to make sure our current health care system provides quality and affordable health care that supports the well-being of all Americans."
 
One week later, many of these organizations sent Congressional leadership and health care committees a letter outlining specific policies that could improve access to care for patients and strengthen the nation’s health system in the near and long-term. These actions include:
  • Continue funding for the Cost-Sharing Reductions;
  • Identify ways to ensure insure participation on the exchanges in bare counties, for example, by leveraging the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHBP);
  • Risk reinsurance;
  • Devote adequate resources to state health insurance marketplace outreach and enrollment to ensure all eligible Americans have the opportunity to sign up for health insurance coverage;
  • Increase financial support by expanding income eligibility for health insurance tax credits; and
  • Address the rising cost of health care including the rising cost of many treatments.

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