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Society Joins 10 Major Patient Groups in Joint Position on Healthcare Reform

March 6, 2017

A coalition totaling 11 nonpartisan patient groups issued a joint set of goals for Congress to focus on as it considers changes to the Affordable Care Act. The coalition includes: American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, JDRF, March of Dimes, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Organization for Rare Disorders, National MS Society, and Women Heart: the National Coalition for Women and Heart Disease.

The groups issued the following statement:

“As Congress begins debate on how to improve the nation’s healthcare system, our organizations will evaluate any proposed changes based on a set of Consensus Health Care Reform Principles we believe necessary to provide affordable, accessible and adequate coverage for all Americans.

To protect the millions of patients we represent, we are united behind the following critical components and will assess any proposals to ensure they are addressed. First, we believe that any new plan cannot jeopardize the healthcare coverage Americans currently have through employers, the marketplace, Medicaid or Medicare. They should be able to keep that coverage and ideally, any reform plan would go further to extend coverage to the uninsured or underinsured, lower costs and improve quality for everyone.
Second, there are three key elements —affordability, accessibility and adequate coverage —that must be included in any meaningful proposals to alter the current system.

Patients need affordable coverage, which includes reasonable premiums, cost sharing and out-of-pocket limits. Adequate financial assistance should be available to lower-income Americans and working families. Patients with preexisting conditions should not face higher premiums.

Patients also need access to coverage that maintains the ban on pre-existing condition exclusions, life-time and annual caps and other patient protections. These issues have received  bipartisan support and are viewed as fundamental in health insurance coverage.

Finally, health insurance must be more than a promise of coverage. Plans must provide needed health benefits with an adequate network of providers. Our organizations also strongly believe that any reform proposals include a focus on prevention which results in longer and healthier lives for our patients, while reducing healthcare spending.

We look forward to working with Congress, the administration and the broader healthcare community to achieve these shared goals that are of vital importance to the health of all Americans.”

People with MS must have access to the healthcare and medications they need to live their best lives. Advocating for accessible, affordable and comprehensive coverage for people with MS is a top priority, and the Society will employ robust efforts to make the voices of people with MS heard during debates over replacing the Affordable Care Act. Learn more about the Society’s position on the repeal/replace of the Affordable Care Act.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.


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