New Senate Bill Would Put Cancer Care Out of Reach for Many


Rye Brook, N.Y. (September 20, 2017) - U.S. Senators Lindsay Graham (South Carolina) and Bill Cassidy (Louisiana) recently introduced a bill to dismantle portions of the Affordable Care Act. The U.S. Senate may advance this legislation as early as next week under a special process that requires only a simple majority to advance it to the U.S. House of Representatives. The Graham-Cassidy proposal would increase premiums and out-of-pocket costs for life-saving cancer care and allow insurers to essentially deny coverage to cancer patients and others with pre-existing conditions, according to an analysis by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).

Below is a statement from Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., LLS president and chief executive officer:

Cancer patients are depending on their elected leaders to put politics aside and work together to break down the financial barriers that too often stand between patients and their potentially life-saving cancer care. Instead of breaking down barriers, the latest Senate bill pushes them even higher. Today, more than 4,600 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer, and the last thing they need is for Congress to put their cancer care out of reach.

The Graham-Cassidy proposal would remove protections that prevent insurers from cutting off access for patients undergoing costly cancer treatments and hiking premiums after a cancer diagnosis. At the same time, this bill would slash tax credits and other assistance to many low- and middle-income cancer patients, increasing their out-of-pocket costs when they are most vulnerable. Stripping away vital patient protections while cutting financial support would force cancer patients to pay even more for the treatments they need to survive—pushing life-saving care out of reach for many.

Speaking as an unapologetically a ‘patients first’ organization, it is past time for policy changes that address the many obstacles cancer patients face today. There are bipartisan, proven solutions that will break down barriers for cancer patients, and there are members of the Senate and the House who are working across party lines to make progress on many of those ideas. Last year, LLS outlined to Congress our core principles for meaningful coverage: guarantee access, promote affordability, ensure quality and encourage stability. We support solutions that uphold our principles, and we are ready and willing to work with Congress to advance them.”

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care.

Founded in 1949 and headquartered in Rye Brook, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.

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