the american health care act
The American Health Care Act (AHCA), as passed by two House Committees (as of 3.13.17), retains two critical childhood cancer protections -- prohibiting insurers from charging more based on health status and prohibiting pre-existing condition exclusions. However, the bill as a whole will shift health insurance costs to low and middle-income patients and families, significantly reduce the standards for quality insurance, curtail the Medicaid expansion and - over time - substantially reduce overall Medicaid funding.
The AHCA would change the income-based subsidy to a flat tax credit and impose late enrollment penalties for individuals who do not stay continuously covered. This is a significant issue for young pediatric cancer survivors. It would also change the structure of the more flexible Medicaid program by converting federal Medicaid funding to a per capita allotment. It will freeze the enhanced federal match for Medicaid expansion currently used by many states, thereby making improvements for new treatment options potentially inaccessible.
The AHCA would remove critical financial protections for families facing the crisis of a childhood cancer diagnosis. Cancer survivors who receive tax credits will also lose financial protections. The AHCA proposal would alter current federal guarantees of Medicaid benefits and eligibility, threatening access to care for children with cancer. Maintaining current Medicaid coverage and adequately funding state programs are critical to providing children with cancer and childhood cancer survivors life saving and enhancing treatments.